Thursday, January 02, 2014

After Nearly 34 Years In Carroll Gardens, Casa Rosa Closes Its Doors

Sadly, another long-time Italian business is calling it quits in Carroll Gardens.
During the Holidays, Reader Ben wrote in to say that Casa Rosa, the old fashioned Italian eatery at 384 Court Street, has closed its doors. Ben reported: "Tables and chairs have been completely cleared out, the store is dark and the door is padlocked. Not surprising -- this kind of Italian food has fallen out of vogue in favor of nouveau Italian like Frankie's. But Vinny's and Red Rose still burn the candle brightly over on Smith."

Casa Rosa first opened at the corner of Court Street and Carroll Street in 1979.
Many Carroll Gardens newcomers probably never set foot in the eatery, but it was only one of a handful of restaurants that served the neighborhood when I first moved here in 1985. The food was nothing spectacular, and in recent years, the quality had declined. The decor was rather dated as well.
It certainly could not have helped matters much that the building housing the restaurant has been on the market twice, once in 2008 and more recently, in 2011.

The Daily News confirms the closing. Apparently, the owner, Louis Catuogno, who took over the restaurant in the late 1990s, passed away a few months ago.

If you have any personal memories of Casa Rosa, I would love to hear them. Better yet, if you remember Gloria's, the famous pizzeria that was predates the restaurant at that location, please share.  How great was the pizza?


Anonymous said...

Red Rose can't be far behind. Pretty moribund every time I walk by. Vinny's ought to make it, though.

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I'm surprised. I have lived in Carroll Gardens for almost 25 years and have been there just twice. The food was average, and the decor was dated. I could make better food at home at a fraction of the cost. It was inevitable, but there are still plenty of old Italian eateries in the area that are still popular.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised either, and I never ate at Casa Rosa -- it just didn't appeal to me even though I'm Italian...I can make it better at home. As a child, I did go there nearly weekly with my father for a pizza when it was Gloria's. It was a really good brick/wood fired oven pizza which cooked the pie in less than 10 minutes. I also used to love watching the jukebox as people put their coins in to listen to a Top 40 hit.

Anonymous said...

Celebrated my wedding rehearsal dinner and then daugthers communion party, both times went well but it seems like owners werent "user friendly" or customer friendly. Most restaurant waiters dont use their names or say hello when they greet you. A major pet peeve of mine being in service industry.Seemed like they catered to the regulars.

Anonymous said...

before the casa rosa was gloria restaurant
we called it red's, who ran it with his brother, vince
great pizza for a sunday night family treat
also, the gian baked calzone was the best


Anonymous said...

We've lived in CG for years and always support the local establishments. We ate at Casa Rosa plenty of times. I would not blame anything but a lack of quality and service...this is NYC after all, and without that, you're history. Loyalty only goes so far.

Knowbody said...

I agree, lack of quality was most likely the issue. We moved to the neighborhood fairly recently, and gave Casa Rosa two shots-- they were nothing special-- mediocre at best. We love Red Rose though, and we often see plenty of people in there. Also, the owner actually owns the whole building, so hopefully it will be there for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

Lou did pass away a few months ago. But if you have been there you will know that the food actually got a lot better again in the past year or so. As far as the mention of the Red Rose, I doubt it will be close behind - what is "moribund"? I don't want to put down a local restaurant, but it does go to show how people say Vinny's should make it - it's a lot of cheap food at cheap prices - it's upscale pizzeria food at best, certainly not restaurant food. Maybe some of these "locals" should try out real Italian food and not what's trying to pass as Italian. And if you are looking for upscale décor then stop complaining when you have to pay for it. People want top quality at hot dog stand prices. And last time I checked, food being good has nothing to do with décor.

Outlaw said...

I have lived in this neighborhood nearly 20 years. Casa Rosa just did not deliver in terms of quality. I tried it a few times but it was bland and the service was eh. I wanted to like it because it was neighborhood, but I just never felt the love there. Please please please do not compare it to Red Rose which, in my view, has consistently lovely food and where every diner is treated like a family member.

Anonymous said...

"Red Rose can't be far behind. Pretty moribund every time I walk by. Vinny's ought to make it, "

You must be new. Red Rose is a local favorite and respected. No death knell , there. It's been around for years. The owner is very nice to us. So, walk in next time, not by.

I never understood the weird facade of red rose. And barely remember Gloria's. But, there must be people here who remember Helen's?? Up the street next to Marietta's?
Now THAT was a real joint! Mama Helen in the kitchen cooking. Ravioli and red sauce, garlic bread with chunks of garlic. The whole banana. :)

Margaret said...

Oh say it ain't so - i always liked to go to Casa Rosa for a special treat. Their Linguine Fra Diablo was the best! And Linguine with clam sauce was the other dish I loved. Their salads were great. The service was warm and leisurely. Like I said, I just felt like I was really having a treat. Loved the wine, and at the end, the coffee and sambucca. I will miss Casa Rosa.

Timothy Reed said...

In terms of classic 'red sauce' Italian places in the neighborhood, Marco Polo and Mama Maria's also still hold court - no pun intended - on Court St.

Andrea Nellis said...

Gloria's was owned by my grandfather and his partner, Vincent. My grandfather, known as Red, was the one who made the pizzas. It is nice to see the restaurant remembered. It was open for 42 years.

Katia said...

Andrea, I would love to know more about your grandfather and his pizza. Perhaps I could write a story on him?
Would you have some old photos?
If you are interested, please feel free to contact me at pardonmeinbrooklyn at gmail dot com.

dorothy garrison said...

I grew up in this neighborhood... We ate Reds pizza every friday as we were not allowed to eat meat on fridays back then. I was a young girl and spent much time in Reds (the Gloria was for adults) lol I remember paying $1.00 for a Pie and when it went up to $1.05 people complained. One night I was waiting for my pie and a woman was complaining about the nickle increase... Red who was a bit of a gruff man (but you loved him) got upset with her and said "the nickel is for the box... if you dont want to pay the nickle dont take the box!!" Their pizza was the best and so was their food... but everything including food, was different then. I had my engagement party in the back in 1969 and my mom had her 2nd wedding there as well in the mid 80's. It was a great place where you can even see the priests from your church eating there and drinking wine :) I have fond memories of Reds and The Gloria as I got older... as well as so many great establishments up and down Court St (Petes Candy Store) and (Joes Deli)Smith Streets.

Katia said...

I love these stories. More, please.

Joe Cucuzza said...

I put in Gloria's Pizza just to see if anything came up and your site did. Gloria's Pizza
was the best pizza hands down I ever had and still in my life my grandmother owned the
building next door to the restaurant we where from Jersey and it was a treat we would go
through 10-15 pies in a night so light and bubbly and lightly chard at the bottom you could
eat a pie by yourself..the best I miss it so much.

Katia said...

You are not the only one to miss Gloria’s Pizza. Many of my elderly neighbors still talk fondly of the eatery.

Anonymous said...

Casa Rosa's was the only place where my mother celebrated Easter with my in laws and we were all together for the last time. My mother passed away in January 1997. My husband and I had always come back to the old neighborhood we loved in Brooklyn for a special dinner at Casa Rosa's and still remember that one time when we hosted our families together for the first and last time.

Eric Dwyer said...

The stories of Gloria's Pizza blow my mind. My family settled in Carroll Gardens -- my family were the original owner's of Mazzola Bakery -- fam lived above it (16 kids). My grandfather grew up on Luquer St, lived briefly on Clinton St. and ultimately settled on Union St. My parents met in Carroll Gardens -- they all raved about Gloria's. To this day, they liken it to the famed Totonno's -- crust w big bubbles, sweet sauce, light cheese, buttery flavor. Does anyone have any pictures of this pizza? Know the full story? Andrea Nellis -- anything you can share? Very curious and intrigued.