Thursday, February 27, 2014

Early Fire At Buschenschank On Court Street Forershadowed By A Tweet?

Photo credit: Liza Kindred

This morning at around 6:30 am, a fire broke out at Buschenschank, at 320 Court Street. It was quickly subdued, though Court Street was still blocked at Sackett Street at around 7:30 Am.
According to reader Simon van Kempen, who alerted me to the incident, the fire may have broken out in Buschenschank's basement, since there was visible damage on the ground floor.
To insure that the fire hadn't spread, firemen also had to break through the the door of Scotto's, the neighboring wine store.

Reader Liza Kindred wrote this account of the fire:
"I thought your readers might be interested to see these pictures–it doesn't seem like anyone was hurt, thank goodness. We were woken up this morning to a lot of sirens, and it quickly became obvious that the building that Brooklyn Buschenschank is in (320 Court Street) was on fire. There was black smoke coming out of the restaurant, and firefighters inside and on the roof. There were a couple of children on the sidewalk that seemed to have been evacuated from the building. We also saw the firefighters breaking the door into Scotto's Wine Cellar next door–how sad to see them going through the window celebrating Scotto's 80 years in business!
Glad to see no one seemed hurt, but sorry to see all the damage

Both Liza and Simon pointed to yesterday's tweet on Buschenschank's Twitter account:
"The fire is on and lunch and brunch are being served till 4pm..... Then happy hour starts at 4 till 8 $5."
How coincidental is that?

Yesterday's ominous tweet on Buschenschank's twitter account

Thankfully, the fire did not start during the evening hours, when Buschenschank can be packed. Previously, I have written about the establishment's illegal basement music venue and about the illegal work on the building. And then, of course, much has been written about owner/restaurateur James McGown's questionable business practices, string of bankruptcy filings, and dilapidated buildings.


Trumbull Bully said...

With Katia's attacks on Buschenshank and McGown over the years, I think she should be a prime suspect in this arson. What Katia don't like, Carroll Gardens aint gonna have. Brooklyn're next.

Katia said...

That's very funny, Trumbull. Wish I were that powerful, or devious.

Anonymous said...

Buschenshank are bad neighbors. Full stop. This isn't a Katia gripe -- it's the gripe of large groups of this neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Though I really enjoy the food there, I always felt a little dirty eating at Buschenschank after hearing about the owners unsavory record. The final straw was one night late last year when I was dining with 6 others and not one person could read the menu because it was pitchblack inside nor could we carry on a conversation because the music was so loud (mind you, it was 7:00pm not 10:00pm. I'm all for a dimly lit room with good music but this was so unpleasant. When we asked the waiter if they could please turn up the lights and the music down, just a bit. He outright said, "No, the owner likes things like this and doesn't care what the customers say, we're not allowed to change the lighting or sound. Never went back again.

Anonymous said...

I was walking past Buschenschank earlier this evening and noticed that not only do they have a DOH C grade they have it posted in the window by the side entrance NOT the front entrance. Just further example of the bold disregard for the law, and people in general, that McGown continually displays in all aspects of his "professional" life.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that recently two of his SBP locations were seized by the US Marshall for non payment of rent. One in the East Village and one in South Park Slope. His latest appeal in his case against the Hanley family was denied and thrown out so I suspect that he might be vacating the old PJ Hanley's space, currently called Goldenrod, soon.
He has about 6 or 7 active cases in the NY State Supreme Court ranging from foreclosures to criminal contempt. It seems as if the tide might be turning for McGown. As much as that might upset Trumbull Bully I'm sure that it is to the glee of most respectable, law abiding citizens in the area.

Katia said...

Thanks for the update.Sure sounds as though his unusual business practices are starting to catch up to him.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to update that now I see that they have replaced the C grade with a Grade Pending sign. It still is displayed in the side window on Sackett Street and NOT in the main window on Court Street next to the entrance.
FYI - the latest inspection data from the DOH:


Current Grade C
Inspected on

Violations recorded in the following area (s) and a Notice of Violation issued at the initial operational cycle inspection conducted on 05/30/2014.
"Critical" violations are displayed in red.
Violation points: 43
Sanitary Violations
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
3) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
4) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
5) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
6) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it around the neighborhood that McGown and his family have left the country and plan on trying to renounce their American citizenship to avoid his legal and financial problems.
Anybody have any more on this?

Katia said...

Oh, please let me know if you find out anything more.