The brightly decorated eatery will be replaced by something more grown-up, the remaining owners say

Two Boots are made for walking: Slope family favorite to close after 24 years

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Get it while it’s hot.

Park Slope restaurant and family favorite Two Boots Brooklyn is closing after 24 years to make way for a more night-life-oriented venture that will offer up Southern-themed cuisine minus the Italian influence and host more music and an expanded bar without shutting out kids entirely, owners said on Monday.

“It’s going to be One Boot, if you will,” said co-operator Andy Wandzilak, who, along with his wife Piper, is taking over the business from retiring owner John Touhey. “We are losing the pizza, the Italian boot,” leaving Louisiana’s geographical footwear for inspiration, he said.

The Second Street eatery will close on Sunday, as first reported by the blog F’d in Park Slope, and should reopen in January as a yet-to-be-named establishment with a renovated dining room, an expanded bar, and a tweaked-but-familiar vibe that will downplay the place’s bright-colored sensibility, Wandzilak said.

“It’s going to grow up a little bit away from the frolicking kid restaurant it has been,” he said. “But there will still be a place for kids.”

Touhey is bowing out to focus full-time on his day job as assistant principal at Downtown’s St. Joseph High School and said that he is sad to leave the business that has become a community cornerstone, but glad to get some breathing room after all these years.

“I’ll miss it terribly but I have to move on,” he said. “It’s always been a community center. Particularly for families.”

And he is not kidding. Touhey founded the Two Boots with a fellow New Orleans lover near his home in Manhattan’s East Village in 1987, then moved to Park Slope and opened a second eatery two years later because friends demanded it, he said. (That very year, former Brooklyn Paper columnist Louise Crawford got engaged late one night at the East Village location. Read her 2007 column for a slice of a family life lived in the Park Slope spot.)

He brought on Piper as a waitress in 1991 and, by the mid-1990s she was helping to run the place and hired Andy as a cook.

In 1996, she married the new guy and the couple joined the club of Two Boots staffers who wound up wed, which has ample membership Touhey said. All the while, his own brood was growing up in the booths.

“We’ve literally raised two generations of kids there,” Touhey said. “My kids are having kids and bringing those kids there.”

The outgoing proprietor says that he will be a regular at the restaurant’s next iteration, which he thinks will attract a cool demographic that the place has long lacked.

“We were known as a family place, which gave the image that, if you were in your 20s or 30s, it wasn’t such a hip place because of all those screaming kids around,” he said. “[The Wandzilaks] are going to let people know that it is a place for young adults and music people.”

The announcement of the closure spurred an outpouring of support on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“I’ve eaten in many fine restaurants, but none whose closing could sadden me more,” Andy Webster wrote. “Thanks for the cherished memories.”

Touhey may be leaving the dining business, but the Two Boots name will live on in the Deep South pizzeria chain that his former partner spun off of the original. That business now boasts 13 locations nationwide and has a new outlet set to open in Williamsburg in the next few month, according to Touhey.

Two Boots Brooklyn will have an informal send-off on Saturday night with weekend regular Jonny Meyers Trio.

Last days at Two Boots Brooklyn [514 Second St. (718) 419–3253,]. Sat, 10 am–3:30 pm and 5 pm–midnight. Sun, 10 am–3:30 pm and 5 pm–10:30 pm.

Updated 2:16 pm, October 4, 2014: Context added.
Reach Nathan Tempey at or by calling (718) 260-4504. Follow him at
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

sue from flatbush says:
this is so sad, but i guess times change neighborhoods change.
Nov. 5, 2013, 11:14 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I really liked their pizza, and hopefully this closing won't to lead to the loss of some of their other locations throughout the city.
Nov. 5, 2013, 6:06 pm
Mustache Pete from Fort Greene says:
Tal - "the Two Boots name will live on in the Deep South pizzeria chain that his former partner spun off of the original. That business now boasts 13 locations nationwide and has a new outlet planned for Williamsburg in the next few month, according to Touhey. "
Nov. 6, 2013, 2:35 pm
Tom Bergdall from Park Slope says:
I, for one, must confess that I hope they lose their shirts with the new venture. I can't imagine why anyone would want to change the formula for a restaurant that is full every time I go.
Nov. 7, 2013, 4:22 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
I'm confused about how this place was connected to the other Two Boots in the city and elsewhere. I thought Phil Hartman was the main dude, the founder of the first Two Boots in the East Village and that Touhey was a partner? How did Hartman figure into the Brooklyn place?
Nov. 8, 2013, 7:41 pm
Andrea Knutson from Park Slope says:
What is happening to the mural? It is really wonderful. I hope they aren't just painting over it.
Nov. 9, 2013, 1:43 pm
patronzo from park slope says:
Just back from the Saturday night shindig. What great fun! Great music. Dancing. Smiles and coziness all around. Anybody who pouts about the closing..and who wasn't there tonight..should hang their heads in shame, the way someone who doesn't vote has no right to complain about who's elected. You missed it, fools!!!
Nov. 10, 2013, 2:06 am
Andrea from Park Slope says:
Responding to patronzo - I and family missed it because it conflicted to the party for Lakeside, the Prospect Park Skating Rink and beautifully restored waters edge. They have been planning that for about as long as Two Boots. So one work of art created and one in peril. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE MURAL
Nov. 10, 2013, 6:57 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
They had the best pizza in the Slope. I think they're getting rid of the wrong boot.
Nov. 25, 2013, 7:10 pm
Barbra from Park Slope says:
This was literally the only place where I and my many friends with kids could go and know that at least the pizza guy would be entertaining with his dough and the awesome window that allowed them to see what really happens in a kitchen. We will miss this place incredibly and hope that the new owners have something in mind for the wee ones. Parents don't really care about hip and cool. We just want a place to breathe and have someone else do the cooking. Really.
Dec. 25, 2013, 11:45 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.