‘Miracle’ ends at cursed Slope corner

The Brooklyn Paper
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Even an optimistic name couldn’t save restaurant owners of Miracle Grill, who have closed and filed for bankruptcy, continuing a legacy of the little restaurants that couldn’t make it at that cursed corner of Seventh Avenue and Third Street.

The reason for the Miracle Grill’s demise was simple: the economy stinks, said owner Michael Ensminger’s lawyer, Gabriel Del Virginia.

Del Virginia told Crain’s Business blog that the grill owes some 50 creditors — including local businesses nearby — totaling almost $350,000 in debt culminated over four years in business.

“I do a number of Chapter 11 cases, which oftentimes come out of bankruptcy by reorganization or through the sale to another operator,” he said. “We would have hoped that this was the situation here, but unfortunately it was not in the cards.”

Customers and local business operators nearby say that the intersection has been cursed for years. Miracle Grill followed a handful of other unsuccessful businesses at that location, including Minksy’s burger joint, Rex’s, Cuzco, Nam and Capulets of the Slope.

“Nobody has luck over there,” said Angelo Fiumefreddo, a head cutter at the nearby Park Slope Barber Shop, which has been between Second and Third streets for half a century.

Real estate brokers in Park Slope don’t think the corner is cursed, of course. Roslyn Huebener said the culprit is more likely a higher concentration of restaurants in the area, which has caused restaurateurs to struggle to maintain a customer base.

“People aren’t making high-end purchases anymore, meaning retail income doesn’t match rents,” she said.

The Miracle Grill was the last leg of three restaurants in a chain, two of which closed in Manhattan years ago.

There is at least one sign of hope for the intersection. Barrio, the Brooklyn outpost of Spencer Rothschild’s restaurant mini-empire, has been successful at the opposite corner for more than eight months, said head waiter Jose Ventura.

But he’s still thinking of haning some garlic or saying some magic words.

“It all started 20 years ago when there was a fire that left the building next to us vacated — and the owner still won’t sell it,” Ventura told The Brooklyn Paper. “Everyone keeps telling me it’s the curse, but I’m hoping Barrio breaks it. It’s sad to see that Miracle Grill is a victim.”

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Reader Feedback

Chef Ray from Flatbush says:
That's a shame!
Feb. 5, 2010, 1:25 pm
kathy vega from park slope says:
Barrio is been there for more than 8 months , try 20 months, so much for a curse, and miracle close because the economy sucks not because of the curse
Feb. 5, 2010, 5 pm
hunter.blatherer from everywhere says:
Isn't this corner where they filmed "Smoke" and "Blue in the Face"? Maybe that's a clue?
Feb. 6, 2010, 5:29 pm
Chris from Boerum Hill says:
Why did it take two months to print this story? That's how long ago the thing closed. I call that 'Olds' not 'News'.

Also, hunter: "Director Wayne Wang's sister movies Smoke and Blue in the Face were filmed at the former Post Office location at the corner of 16th Street and Prospect Park West in 1995, in conjunction with well-known local writer Paul Auster."

So no, you're way off. One might say you're disingenuous. I might say, you BS'd so you could make your lame joke. A trivial untruth, but an untruth nonetheless.

The space on the corner is nice, but Miracle's food was lacking for the price. The food was too greasy, you'd order things on the menu only to be told, "We don't have that anymore", and yet the menu stayed, like an expensive version of Pacifico, which though a fun place, has also overstayed its welcome.

Good restaurants CHANGE their menus every so often, keeping popular items but trying new items to keep people coming back. Miracle changed their menu twice a year, but the only change was the removal of items, not the addition of anything new or interesting.

It wasn't the worst I've had, but it was way too "meh" for the price. The best restaurants offer inexpensive food done close to perfection. If that's too much for them to offer, time to get into a different line of work or go open something in Jersey.

Not saying it's easy, but this is Park Slope. People with money know their food. The location is not the problem, well except for the poor confluence of bus stop and front door on 7th. That's fairly annoying.
Feb. 6, 2010, 10:29 pm
todd from parkslope says:
Maybe it was because they had a limited menu of average overpriced food.

No loss at all there.
Feb. 7, 2010, 8:40 am
J from parkslope says:
No one's ever been good enough for Chris from Boreum Hill. Reporters, commenters, you've all failed him in one way or another. And he's putting you all on notice.
Feb. 7, 2010, 3:44 pm
Chris from Boreum Hill says:
@J - Sorry that I dumped you, but that is no reason to air our dirty laundry here on the Brooklyn Paper's comments section. It wasn't that you weren't good enough for me, we're just different people and I wish you could accept that.
You'll always have a special place in my heart J, but just like miracle I have moved to a new corner and you no longer occupy me.
Feb. 8, 2010, 8:24 am
Jim from Park Slope says:
The whole idea of a "cursed" location is just plain silly. This is a high traffic location in the middle of a fairly wealthy, dense urban area. The only reason Miracle Grill, or the other restaurants in this space, have closed is because they could not make enough money to support the cost of operating there. Either the rent being charged is too high, or the food has stunk, or both. Only a moron would believe that a "curse" was put on this location.
Feb. 8, 2010, 11:38 am
SlopeyJoe from Park Slope says:
Ach, all you newcomers. This was the site of Minsky's bar. Whoever brings it back and markets it correctly will make a fortune.
Feb. 8, 2010, 3:36 pm
Richie Rich from parkslope says:
We need a good steak house in Parkslope..Like Mortons..
Feb. 8, 2010, 4:59 pm
Paul from Notsorecentpast says:
What was it back in the late 80s? That place went downhill when they moved the bar from one side to the other.
Feb. 9, 2010, 1:13 pm

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