Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Café Tekoá On Clinton Street To Reopen As 'The Pilar', A New Fish Place

photos courtesy of Christian Svanes Kolding

Tekoá, the small Cobble Hill café, owned by husband and wife team Alex Raij and Eder Montero of La Vara, the eatery next door, has just closed.  According to a note in the window of 264 Clinton Street, coffee (and a limited breakfast menu) were not enough to sustain the business after buying the lease and paying rent.
So Raij and Montero are re-imagining the space into The Pilar, a "corner fisherie" with wine and cocktails.

The closing was reported to PMFA by Christian Svanes Kolding, who writes:

We walked to Tekoá this morning, as we do every Monday morning, and saw that it was closed. The little café on Clinton Street with the same ownership as La Vara had yesterday as its last day. That’s too bad.
The argument the owners make that a coffee shop can’t thrive in this neighborhood seems a bit circumspect. Even though Café Pedlar around the corner has also closed (and I have no idea when anything will re-emerge in that space) it’s seems to me that Tekoá suffered more from a lack of vision and resources than a lack of demand.

Every time we were there, or I happened to be walking by in the morning, there was a line of customers out the front door – so clearly, they had a base.
Yet outside the morning hours, I couldn’t see the attraction that would give customers a compelling reason to return. Whenever I was there, they were routinely short-staffed, especially during the morning rush, with a limited menu – though the food was always nice – while the seating was unnecessarily crowded. So what’s the appeal of going there during lunch, for example, when you knew that most of your time would be spent either waiting in line or waiting for them to fulfill the order?

I’m guessing that many customers came there because there weren’t other good options nearby, especially for a sit-down coffee, so they’d put up with the inconveniences of the slow service.
I wrote to the owners, asking them to provide more staff for their morning shifts but they never responded and I never saw any improvement, nor did I ever see evidence that they understood what their customers wanted (or perhaps they simply didn’t want to provide what their customers wanted).

Let’s hope that the new venture, which focuses on seafood and fish, is a success.
I’d be curious to see what they’re going to offer but I will miss having Tekoá as a coffee option. We don’t have enough cafés in the neighborhood where one can sit and talk with friends, as we’re pretty much down to East One now, while a handful of other spots put most of their energy into serving take-away drinks."

One would think that this particular location next to Cobble Hill Park is quite desirable. Adding a full liquor license to a great little fish place could be quite successful here. What do you think?

*For those keeping track, 264 Clinton Street was the home of Ted and Honey until 2015.  


Anonymous said...

Yes - It was the home to Ted and Honey - and before that the good ol' "Red Deli" run by a gentleman by the name of... Christoff or something similar.
Grumpy guy. Great sandwiches. Probably 1/4 the current rent-- and snoot!

Unknown said...

I rarely went there as I am closer to court and 1st place. I do like East One for coffee, even though the line and wait can be a bit long.
I always had that dream to open a little all day coffee shop, sandwiches and nice healthy food in the hood, but rent and lease are so crazy expensive that it pretty impossible to survive without selling high priced meal and booze. I guess this is why East One sells coffee at $4!

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Habit just opened on Smith Street at 4th Street (a hike from Tekoa) but is a nice sit down cafe option in addition to East One, Smith Canteen, and Konditori.

Anonymous said...

There is also a cute small sit down across form the school on Henry. Around the corner down the ally from tekoa. But sometimes filled with moms waiting for kids. The Tekoa location is a coveted spot. Too bad it will be a cafe probably open only at night. I liked buying ice coffee there on my walks to dumbo.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Brooklyn Habit is a very welcome addition to the far end of Carroll Gardens. Bright airy space, lovely employees and good La Colombe coffee. Happy to see them and Ugly Baby doing so well in an area of CG that has long been neglected.

jheisel said...

Fate & Folk across from ps29 on Henry is quite good for coffee. Haven’t tried the food, but they advertise sandwiches from court street grocers.

alexa said...

a lack of good service is more the case - vapid acting like they were doing you a favor adios

BTW the pedlar is reopening per the landlord

Anonymous said...

Despite being a big fan of Ted & Honey and La Vara, something about Tekoa never clicked (besides the Turkish breakfast). I'm not sure if it was the poor layout or the inconsistent service, but it always felt like it brought out the worst in everyone- strange jockeying to get in line, swimming upstream to get milk, frustration that breakfast wasn't served until 9 AM, etc. The coffee and food were good, but I'm not sorry to see this place go. I will miss the ease of grabbing a coffee and hanging out in the park, but, as mentioned, there are other nearby options. Bring on the fish restaurant (and the resurgence of the Turkish breakfast, wherever it may be)!

Teri said...

Christophe's wife made the most delicious fresh, warm croissants when it was the no name deli....LOVED it then!!!

Anonymous said...

@Teri- YES!
I totally forgot it went by the 'no name deli'.
Love it!

Anonymous said...

Can you do a follow-up on Pedlar to find out more information about what happened, what's going to happen?

Katia said...

I’ll see what I can find out

Unknown said...

I'm not sorry to see it go. Overpriced take-out, healthy but not super-delicious. The French deli before Ted and Honey was the best -- they didn't have much in the way of groceries, but they made a great roast chicken and sold baguettes, two very important staples.

Anonymous said...

I wish them good luck, the space is really small and Tekoá failed at Offering Dinner within two months. I think you are seeing a rent that is too high to allow anything to survive. The building probably is better off being converted to residential given the prime location on the park.