Hinsch’s is saved! Fifth Avenue fixture to reopen next month

End of an era: Hinsch’s is closed
File photo / Tom Callan

Hinsch’s, Bay Ridge’s legendary luncheonette and soda fountain, will reopen under new ownership in November.

Gerard Bell, an owner of the Fifth Avenue restaurant Skinflint’s, confirmed on Saturday evening that he and two partners had reached a deal with landlord Anna Tesoriero to reopen the legendary greasy spoon, known for its egg creams, homemade candies and throwback decor.

“We’re shooting for Nov. 1,” he said. “We’re in here now cleaning and just patching up some holes and we’re ready to go.”

Bell, a lifelong Ridgite, said he wanted to keep the shop from becoming another chain store — a common fate over the years.

“We wanted to revive the place, said Bell. “It’s a part of Bay Ridge history.

The menu will feature a couple new items, but the famous chocolates, milk shakes and egg creams will stay the same — as will its iconic signage and old-school interior.

“Everything is staying. We’re just cleaning it up and making it look nice,” he said.

The news, which was broken on the Facebook page of Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), comes just two weeks after the 63-year-old family business was shuttered on Sept. 29 after city health inspectors found the shop between 85th and 86th streets was a refuge for rats, with rampant roaches and improperly refrigerated food.

Despite the timing, owner John Logue blamed the economy for his decision to shutter Hinsch’s.

“Our lease is expiring and we decided not to renew it,” said a note in the shop’s window. “Current economic conditions, customers changing eating patterns, and our desire to retire early have led us to this decision. We thank all of our customers for your business and appreciate your support and loyalty. We will miss serving you.”

After the closure, Tesoriero said she would seek rent of more than $10,000 a month — up from the $7,500 a month that Logue was paying.

Bell declined to comment on the specifics of the lease, but did say that Tesoriero cut him a deal because she wanted Hinsch’s to stay open.

Logue did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The shop was a Bay Ridge fixture, but its clientele had not changed since Herman Hinsch opened the shop in 1948, one of three in Bay Ridge, and business had been on the decline.

Skinflint’s has its own syrupy history — the Fifth Avenue restaurant between 79th and 80th streets known for its burgers used to be the Myer & Blohm ice cream parlor.