Blossoming again: Ditmas Park bar–flower shop will resume selling buds this season, owners say

Blossoming again: The owners of Sycamore Bar and Flower Shop in Ditmas Park have developed a plan to bring their bud business back after receiving health department violations that forced them to shutter it this summer.
Photo by Jason Speakman

This flower shop is expecting a fall bloom.

The owners of a popular combination bar and florist in Ditmas Park are confident they can start hawking buds again in the coming months after developing a plan to reopen the blossom business following city violations that led to its shutdown this summer.

“We’re very optimistic the flower shop will come back,” said Kathy Lee, who co-owns the bar portion of Sycamore Bar and Flower Shop.

In June, Department of Health inspectors descended on the storefront at 1118 Courtelyou Rd. between Stratford and Westminster roads and issued violations that forced it to close after finding evidence of flowers being stored in the same refrigerator as bottled beer and kegs, which they said potentially contaminated the booze.

Owners got the bar business up and running days later, but confusing information provided by the agency prevented them from reopening the flower shop without breaking the city’s health code.

For instance, the city accused Sycamore of storing buds with food and requiring florists to pass through a kitchen area to get to the blooms’ storage space — charges that puzzled management because the establishment doesn’t serve food and lacks kitchen facilities.

What the city failed to mention, however, is that the health department’s definition of “food” includes drinks in addition to munchies, and that it defines a “kitchen” as any facility used to store edibles or beverages.

Sycamore’s owners arrived at a solution to the health department’s problem — installing an extra refrigerator and dividing its basement with a wall that separates booze and flower storage areas — after working with the local community board and Councilman Mathieu Eugene’s (D–Ditmas Park) office, which acted as liaisons between the business and the city.

“Finally the specifics came out,” Lee said.

The necessary repairs would already be complete, but proprietors chose to postpone the work until after the establishment’s city health-grade inspection, which was supposed to happen in July, but has yet to occur.

The owners are hopeful it will take place before the end of the month, and said if it doesn’t, they may forge ahead with the work.

“We didn’t want anymore surprises, and thought we could wait three weeks,” Lee said. “Now we’re realizing it could be much longer, so we’re thinking of regrouping, and just going forward.”

A pop-up food court in Sycamore’s backyard was also axed as a result of the city’s June inspection, and management remains unsure how to remedy that situation. But getting its flowers back is their primary focus, according to Lee.

“We need to do more research and get a better handle on what the specific issues were with the pop-up,” she said. “But first we want the flower shop back, because we’ve originally been a flower shop, so we want our identity back.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

More from Around New York