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Ciao down: Court Street Italian joint Brucie closing

Bittersweet: Zahra Tangorra says she is closing Brucie in Cobble Hill so she can try her hand at other ventures.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Say pasta la vista.

Beloved Cobble Hill restaurant Brucie will close its doors on Feb. 15 after five years of serving up homey Italian food on Court Street, because the owner says she wants to do something new.

“The past five years have been especially rewarding and exciting but it has come to a time when I’m realizing I have different priorities as a result of the things we’ve been able to accomplish here at Brucie,” said Zahra Tangorra, who opened the cozy spot when she was 26 years old.

The bistro is best known for its annual celebrity-themed Valentine’s Day menus, which have become viral internet sensations. Last year it dished up a Benonce-inspired spread that included “Jay-ziti” and “buga-bouillabaisse,” and this year it created a Kim Kardashian and Kanye West feast of “khicken-fried rump roast” and “Yeezcake.”

But for its neighbors, Brucie is all about simple, comforting Mediterranean fare, including a take-home lasagna service that lets folks drop off a pan and pick up dinner 24 hours later.

This paper described the eatery as “like gathering around the kitchen table for a big family meal” when we reviewed the then-newly-opened spot in 2010.

Tangorra, who is now 32, says she now wants to explore other projects with her head chef and best friend Jennie Lupo. The pair want to do something to highlight young women in the food industry and dream of writing a book aimed at making cooking more accessible, she said.

“I think what Brucie has been most successful at is presenting challenging food in a way that is easy to enjoy,” she said. “We want to expand on taking the fear out and adding the joy into cooking.”

Tangorra said she is still not sure who will move into the space next, but she is in the process of talking with potential new owners.

Regular diners — who fill half of the restaurant on any given night — are disappointed they’ll have to say goodbye, she said, but have been supportive of the choice to move on.

“They’re sad in a way that is so heartwarming,” she said. “People really love this place and people coming in here and saying ‘I love it here’ has been one of the biggest honors of my whole life.”

The eatery will serve its final Valentine’s Day meal the day before it closes. But there is no pun-tastic gimmick this year — just a classic menu of Brucie’s greatest hits, Tangorra said.

Go have one final plate of spaghetti and meatballs at Brucie [234 Court St. at Baltic Street in Cobble Hill, (347) 987–4961, www.brucienyc.com].

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.

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