If you’ve wandered around the intersection of Knickerbocker and Myrtle avenues in recent weeks, you may have wondered what has become of the 90s Hollywood-inspired Burger King. A green construction fence has gone up, the space has been gutted, and workers are buzzing around the site.
It is not the usual tale of an old single-story fast-food joint with a large parking lot being torn down for new apartments. But it is out with the old and in with the new in regards to the movie star posters, sit-in cars, and tiger-print booths.
Franchise owner John Froccaro, who has had the business with his brother since the late ’90s, confirmed the restaurant at 1412 Myrtle Ave. is undergoing a remodeling and will be reopening with a more modern and minimalist look likely in late December.
“We want to give the community something they can be proud of,” he said over the phone.
While Froccaro, who owns a number of restaurant franchises in New York including the QDOBA Mexican Eats next door, said it was a time for a refresh, some social media commenters weren’t so convinced. (And we can be sure Vulture writer Rebecca Alter, who called the Burger King “a destination so architecturally significant that it ought to be preserved by UNESCO,” is in their camp).
“Oh no! That was the poor man’s Planet Hollywood,” one Reddit commenter wrote, while another said: “That’s really unfortunate. If only they knew how many people appreciated that BK. It’s going to look boring and soulless now, like a Starbucks.”
“So what I’m hearing is…I am NOT having it my way,” another wrote.
Some commenters were curious how they could get their hands on the vintage movie posters and other interior relics, which Froccaro said were mostly given away and the remainder left for workers and locals who wanted to pick them up.
According to city records, Froccaro signed a 20-year lease for the restaurant in 1999, and while that has expired and there is no sign of a new lease in the city documents, Froccaro confirmed the restaurant has renewed its lease and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The Myrtle Avenue Burger King bucks the trend of other fast food outlets in Brooklyn. White Castle made somewhat of an exodus from central Brooklyn in the mid-2010s, closing its Williamsburg and two Clinton Hill locations. All three were replaced by large residential developments. There’s now just a smattering of White Castle locations remaining in the borough.
A McDonalds on Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights may be replaced by a 17-story residential tower, according to Department of Building records. In Bushwick, a Crown Fried Chicken became surrounded by a new development, was eventually demolished, and is now being replaced with another apartment building. A Burger King on Fulton Street in Bed Stuy was replaced by a TD Bank in 2015.