Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Smell Of Roasting Coffee Just Part Of Carroll Gardens' Charm

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D'Amico Foods has been part of the Carroll Gardens Community since 1948, and for most of the last 64 years,  three generations of the D'Amico family have been roasting coffee beans right in their store at 309 Court Street.  Their signature dark Italian espresso roast, together with their famous house blends, are not only enjoyed by many throughout the community, but shipped to coffee lovers all over the country.
Walk down Court Street between 11 AM and 3 PM, and you will smell the roasting coffee from blocks away. It's as integral to the neighborhood as the aroma of  freshly baked bread and the scent of fresh tomato sauce.
But for some, it would appear, the smell of d'Amico's roasted coffee wafting from the business is a problem.
After someone complained, Joan and Frank D'Amico Jr. taped a note on their window, reminding people that their business has been there for a very long time .
The note reads:
To all our neighbors:For those of you who are new to the neighborhood, D'Amico's has been in business since 1948. We have been roasting coffee almost as long.  We understand that not all people like the smell of roasting coffee. This is our business.  If you have concerns with our roasting schedule, please, we invite you to come and talk to us.  We hope we can work together to solve this issue.  Thank you.
Let's hope this neighborhood institution will continue roasting coffee on Court Street for another 60 years.
D'Amico's is part of the reason Carroll Gardens is special and why so many love living here.
Without the smell or roasted coffee, it just wouldn't be the same, would it?


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47 comments:

JAA said...

Wait, somebody actually complained about D'Amico? I'd like to find them and give them a ticket to Metro North and the opportunity to move out to the suburbs, where they can live unassailed by the delicious smell of coffee except when they wander into their local Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

OMG. This isn't quite as bad as people complaining that the bells at St. Agnes Church were disturbing their sleep at 8am, because now the bells are silent (and I know for a fact that this is the case). So what next?!? Shut down D'Amico's? Or perhaps shut down Caputo's because the smell of baking bread is offensive to those with gluten intolerance?
Geez Louise!

Anonymous said...

If a nearby resident does not like the wonderful aroma of D'Amico's roasting coffee, then they should move. Really!!

Elise said...

D'Amico's is a shrine. I am so sorry that they have to deal with some newbie complaining about the aroma of roasting coffee. I love D'Amico's. They make the BEST sandwiches and the BEST coffees, bar none, including Starbucks. Starbucks is not the real deal, folks. D'Amico's is. JAA, I'll chip in on that ticket you offered to get the complainer(s) a one way away.

Anonymous said...

i've lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years & have put up with the stink of d'amico's burnt coffee giving me headaches. they seem to have changed something in their process because the odor has gotten worse. i would never complain, because this is supposed to be part of the neighborhood charm.

Michele C said...

This is exactly one of the reasons why us neighborhood people dont like these "newbies" They live here for 2 days and think they could change things that have been going on for longer than they have been alive.

timmc11 said...

I am a "newbie" in the neighborhood and one of the best discoveries I had upon moving in was wandering past D'Amico's one afternoon and smelling the beans roasting. I already loved the neighborhood, but discovering D'Amico's took that love to a new level. I now purchase all my coffee there and try to time all those purchases with the roasting schedule. Who doesn't love the smell of coffee? I know plenty of people who don't like the taste, but even they love the aroma.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it still exists today, but I recall there being a coffee factory nearby (somewhere on Third Avenue -- Chock-full-o-Nuts maybe?), and whenever the wind blew at a good clip from the southwest, the aroma of freshly-roasted coffee would waft over CG. Aaahhhhhhh!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:33...perhaps the stronger aroma of coffee might be over-roasting. A lot of newbies love high-octane caffeine, so D'Amico's might be accommodating demand by roasting bolder blends or just over-cooking them. I, myself, prefer a nice mellow cup. Very comforting.

Katia said...

To Anon 2;21,
According to Frank Junior, there used to be quite a few roasters on Third Avenue.
Back in the day, there used to be one on Hicks Street as well.
Now the closest one is on 18th Street.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:21 here. Thanks Katia! There used to be an Entenmann's factory on Third Avenue also. Just think...fresh coffee and fresh Entenmann's! (I know, I know, I'll probably get bashed for liking Entenmann's...but if it makes anyone feel any better, I'm a pretty good baker myself!)

Kristina :] said...

As yet another newbie, I love D'amico's. Keep on doing what you're doing, guys.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight...D'Amico's bothers some people, and people (and this blog) rush to their defense. A chinese restaurant leaves oil out (to be picked up or recycled or whatever) and you publish photos of it, calling for fines or them to clean up their act?

I don't feel one way or another about either business, it's just hilarious how utterly transparent you agenda is; if it is on my block and bothering me and not what I expect, it is negative. If it is away from me and part of what I consider to be "neighborhood charm" (and, yes, I consider D'Amico's a great place, with a LONG history in the neighborhood, but then again, so are the places full of live/dead chickens and rabbits on Columbia), it is something to be defended?

This is having your cake and eating it too.

Anonymous said...

Loser! No one wants the Chinese restaurant. We need D'Amico's!

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait...let us get this stratight. A restaurant (Chinese OR otherwise) that dumps their used cooking oil into the gutter on a busy street is called out for it and we rush to defend D'Amico's? What the restaurant did (Chinese OR otherwise) is totally gross and dirty, not to mention dangerous for anyone happening to get oil on their shoes and possibly slipping and falling. Face the facts, please. The restaurant deserved the criticism for disgusting behavior.

JJS said...

Are. You. Kidding. Me. Yes, I am one of those people who moved to CG within the past 6 years (from Cleveland by way of SF) and love the coffee and the people at D'Amicos. I live just a few doors down Court St and the wonderful smell of roasting beans will always remind me how lucky I am to have moved to CG.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Really??? Unless the Complainer lives on top of the roaster, I say shut up!!! How stupid. Unreal. But, that baked bread smell from Caputo's is making me so sick I see their point. ;) I'd rather smell tar. ;)

Anonymous said...

As a newbie of 6 years in cg I have to say I love the charm of our hood and wouldn't change a thing. My kids go to 58 and I own a local small business. However as a small business owner in the vicinity of the roasting, I have to say, that sometimes it can be too much. You know it is bad when customers are in and they tell me that something is burning in the store and I need to check it out. But I just tell them that it is coffee roasting next door. Roasting coffee smoke is sometimes pleasant but sometimes can be burned. I buy my coffee there and I have never complained, because it is part of the nostalgia of CG, however, there is always 2 sides to every story and the lingering smoke in another owners store can get to be bad after it stays for days.
Just saying, not lodging any complaints.
BTW I live next to the church bells and I LOVE THEM!

fred said...

I am more concerned about the dunkin donuts' cups and packaging flying over the sidewalks three blocks away.
I am more concerned about the disgusting oil that Ting-Hua pours into the street along with their stinky garbage.
I like the smell of roasting coffee from d'Amico even if I do not drink coffee.

concetta said...

how sad that newbies run the neighborhood and damicos has to APOLOGIZE to these freaks!! just shut up & enjoy the neighborhood you now call your 'own'.

landlord said...

please, can everybody just stfu once in awhile? mama mia, that's what's so wonderful about bklyn!

Anonymous said...

this whole thing of "newbies" vs. "old-timers" seems a bit petty. a person complaining about the smell said he/she had lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. are they still considered a "newbie" & not entitled to an opinion?

i would hate to see anything happen to the folks at d'amico's they are charming & that's part of what people are paying for in this neighborhood. it doesn't matter that they over-roast & burn their beans.

Anonymous said...

Originally businesses like D'amico's & Caputos were small retail establishments that served the neighborhood. However, both places are now also in the wholesale business (actually illegal according to the zoning regulations). That means that they both are baking & roasting & burning & creating odors more than ever. Have you ever seen those crazy ovens in the back of Caputo's?

People seem to be intimidated about saying anything that might sound like a "complaint."

Nick Gorczynski said...

further digression:

It feels like the neighborhood need some sort of unwritten code in order to mature past this split. There's always going to be this polarization between the new and the old.

The reality is, that someday the new will be the old, and there'll be a new, new. And further in the future, the cycle will be repeated.

New or old, everyone has a love for the neighborhood. For the old, it's the pride in their contributions over the years. For the new, it's a pride in discovering such wonderful place to live while our fellow city dwellers are deprived of our charming amenities.

I doubt anyone consciously wants to sabotage what we have going here in Carroll Gardens. If anything, we want to improve. (and by improve, I do not mean with more chains and more new development) Improve means to embrace the Carroll Gardens culture of small business and polished old-fashioned charm.

From the comments here it seems like there's a ton of energy wasted between new vs. old. Instead it should be Carroll Gardens vs the rest of New York! In Carroll Gardens, we know how to do things right! We like clean streets, we like detailed architecture, and we like good wholesome food. We like a neighborhood for residents, and not for tourists. We like knowing the people behind the counter and seeing friendly faces on the street.

There's not many neighborhoods on our level, and we should embrace the fact a wide variety of people can appreciate that.

Michele C said...

Anon 3:00- You are comparing dumping disgusting dirty grease in a busy street where tons of people have to walk to having to smell coffee?!?

Anonymous said...

Umm. "crazy" ovens??? It's a b a k e r y.
Been the same for years.
And how can you live next to church bells? Not St Agnes.
And finally, I also love D'amicos and remember when they switched the old roaster for the new one. Love the dark roast. In any event, I'm sure the people who will be living in that huge thing being built on Union st and Court will also have comments. If their windows even open. But, they will not shop at D'Amicos.
Anyway, how about an exhaust fan? So, wake up people and smell. The. Coffee.

Anonymous said...

Newbies are not the problem. The problem is that too many people are self centered, they think the if they don't like something it must change. These same people need to understand that the world does not turn on them. They are part of a bigger picture, a real neighborhood . Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill with its small shops and neighbors that speak to each other is the reason why we live here. If the complainers don't understand this there is a borough across the river that will welcome them

Salvatore said...

The coffee at D'Amico's is delicious and it's a nice little business and I enjoy it, even if Tattooed Chris who manages D'Amico's is one of the unfriendliest guys on Court St. The Winter blend is one of their best.

I have noticed that whatever they're doing with the roasting, something must have gone off, because it has smelled way worse in recent years. At first I thought it was the diner across the street, that had a "C" rating for a little while, until it paid up and got an "A". But I found out it is actually D'Amico's that has something burning in their place.

It is possible that one of their machines has something stuck in it that needs to be removed, something that may be making the burning coffee smell that is different than most other roasted coffee smells. Porto Rico, for example, another coffee roaster, always smells amazing when I walk by them.

D'Amico's hasn't smelled bad before, but this burnt, ashy smell is new from the past two or three years.

Little Earthquake said...

I love D'Amico's. But I don't live within smelling distance. However I wouldn't move near a coffee roasting place if I didn't want to smell coffee roasting.

It's better than the nasty grease smell coming from the new 5 Guys.

Anonymous said...

oh for pete's sake, first the church bells have been silenced (hey wait, is'nt brooklyn the borough of churches? DUH NEWBIES)and now, the pleasant smell of roasted coffee is a disturbance?? what, do they want to smell the gowanus all day long like we had to put up with over 40 years ago??
oh please...leave traditions alone in carroll gardens. ridiculous!!!

once-a-brooklynite said...

I hope good common sense prevails here. Story reminds me of a time when I was a new neighbor to Joe's Dairy in SoHo (summer sublet)... Waiting for the phone service to be turned on in the apartment, I smell a smokey fire from somewhere behind the tenement. I call the fire department from payphone on the street... then I have to call back. False alarm. Just Joe's smoking the mozzarella. Phew!

Rob said...

It is horrifying that some gentrifying whiners would threaten an old, family-run business that gave Carroll Gardens exactly the character that attracted the gentrifiers to begin with. One more REAL business threatened by the rising tide of these folks who should just move to Manhattan instead of blanding-down and pricing-up neighborhood after neighborhood in BK. I have been buying coffee from D'Amicos since I first encountered it 6 or 7
years ago. As good as the Stumptown stuff that costs three times the price.

The Angry Otaku said...

I've lived 2 blocks away since I was alive, and I've been buying D'Amico coffee since almost as long (after I got off the oh so sweet Manhattan Special as a kid). Morons who can't handle the smell of roasting coffee while they bum around their apartment wishing they lived in Billyberg are straight up ruining the area. I buy D'Amico's for my entire office every week and won't be stopping any time soon. These complainers won't mean anything once their trust funds run out and they move to Portlandia or whatever the next hipster mecca is.

Anonymous said...

I'm a newbie who's lived in CG for 40 years. I suppose that I'll always have that label attached to me. In fact, when we 1st moved here the derogatory term that was used for people like us was "liberal." That meant that we were born outside of this neighborhood. We were also looked down upon if we used the name "Carroll Gardens." In those days, Caputo's was a true neighborhood bakery (there was an actual apt. on the 2nd floor) with a small oven in the back & D'amico's wasn't selling to restaurants, etc. I like both places still, but seems like the fog of nostalgia has clouded the perception of many.

Anonymous said...

The Smell OF Roasting Coffee!!! If you don't like the smell then move to another Neighborhood.We have lived here all our lives and the aroma of roasting Coffee is beautiful. So drink coffee instead of Beer!!!!

Anonymous said...

Really! This is what it has come to in CG? We are complaining about church bells and the smell of roasted coffee. There are many more quality of life issues that need to be addressed by both newbies and old timers! Something that is never addressed is the increase level of crime in the area from people being mugged in the middle of the day to home break ins. It seems like everyday the police are stopping someone on smith street. It appears, to me anyway, that the increase in crime is directly related to the increase in the number of bars that have open on smith street. I have lived in CG for 40 years and until the last two years I never have felt uncomfortable taking a walk around the area after dinner when it was dark. Today, I don't feel anywhere near as safe when I do take in infrequent after dinner walk. Sad very Sad....

Anonymous said...

To those posters here who have lived in CG for 40 years, you're not newbies anymore, so don't worry, we're not talking about you. It's nice to have you here. From what I've observed recently (and at the risk of making a generalization for which I will probably be bashed), some (not all) of the newbies who complain about everything appear to belong to the Gen-X & Gen-Y generations who feel they are "special." It's a mindset that's been written about extensively in recent years. Let's face it..they were brought up differently from the rest of us. If they don't like something, they feel they compelled to complain -- which is OK -- free country. The difference is that they feel they are entitled to a solution to their satisfaction. I am not talking about major issues like crime which merit all of our complaints and attention; I'm talking about matters like church bells, burnt coffee smells, and the like that we're discussing here. Forget about everyone else, I want what I want and I want it now. I'm sorry, kids. CG is a diverse neighborhood. You are here to live in a strong, vibrant, established community and to learn to live with people who may be different from you. It is not all about YOU. So relax, enjoy our neighborhood, contribute your talents, and above all, be a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that someone would complain about THAT! I mean I live on Court street, and ALL DAY LONG, I am dealing with delivery trucks idling their engines for HOURS, truck after truck, sometimes 3 or four simultaneously. Repeated calls to 311 has never changed the situation, the exhaust and noise is unbelievable. This, in spite of the fact that the legal limit for idling in NYC is supposedly 3 minutes. And yet, the delicious smell of coffee, which is emanating from D'Amico's once or twice a week, is a problem???!!! I am unable to open my windows due to exhaust and noise, feel like I am living in a truck stop, but coffee, well, we gotta stop THAT! WTF!

Anonymous said...

Yep. This is South Brooklyn , people.
And as far a a the oil dumpers go, Grocery, our Michelin rated reataurant, dumps oil, too. Big jugs of it. While most use oil recycling companies that pick up for free!! Hello? Grocery? Get with it!!
Thanks d'Amicos. Dark Roast all the way!!

Anonymous said...

I do understand when some people are less than pleased when I blast The Violent Femmes at 4am. But this is the heavenly aroma of delicious coffee being made by the kindest of people who lived in CG well before you were a gleam in your mother's eye. Please, move to Secaucus.

Chicken Underwear said...

Sometimes, when I am lucky that aroma drifts past the canal and up the slope.

Anonymous said...

unbelievable.....

Compassion and Peace/ Salvatore said...

For anyone who feels entitled to this neighborhood by calling themselves, proudly, an "old-timer":

If anything, you could make an historical argument that who this neighborhood actually belongs to is the indigenous original residents, the Native Americans, the Canarsee of the Lenape tribe. But that's obviously not the case - because things change - and ownership of land is simply an illusion. We're all fighting over who owns what and who has bragging rights to this neighborhood and so on.

It doesn't belong to the Native Americans, who didn't believe one could "own" land, since it's much bigger than our small human plans of eating and sleeping, etc. Native Americans knew that the Earth belongs to the Great Spirit. And it doesn't belong to the Dutch, who settled it in the 1600's. And it doesn't belong to the Norwegians, who built much of what's in Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, etc. It also doesn't belong to any other nationality, whether they be the Italians, the Irish, the Germans, the French, and ... you get the picture.

Live free. A united vision is better than a fragmented one.

C.G. family since before St. Agnes said...

To Anon February 23, 2012 6:01 PM

It's nice that you live & work in C.G. Most newer businesses support people from other areas & even other states.

However, you really should have been a 'better business person' and researched your location; then you would have known about the roasting. Perhaps a complaint to you OVER-Paid Real Estate Broker is more in order.

Anonymous said...

You want entitled? Read this story about our Cobble Hill neighbors:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-29/wall-street-bonus-withdrawal-means-trading-aspen-for-cheap-chex.html (check out the Gawker post making fun of them: http://gawker.com/5889249/the-five-best-quotes-in-bloombergs-outrageous-banker-bonuses-story).

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what ever happened to civility in the neighborhood. You made a mistake by renting next door to place that roast coffee and you hate the smell of coffee. Then you waste taxpayer dollars by calling the city to complain and having an inspector come to Amico's. If your rental is inhabitable, just move..deal with your own mistakes. Back in the 60's and 70's Brooklyn Pier 6 was the coffee pier. When the shipments of coffee arrived by boat, from the Heights to Red Hook knew the coffee was in..maybe you should move to another boro...sniff around until you find something more suitable.

C.G. Family since before St. Agnes said...

I agree(d) with Anon - March 01, 2012 11:16 AM
But, katia didn't enter my post from yesterday afternoon.