Dyker Heights’ beloved Colandrea New Corner Restaurant will permanently close after 84 years because of challenges stemming from COVID-19, one of the owners announced.
“Today’s uncertain environment, unprecedented circumstances, renewed challenges, and the impact of COVID-19 have placed me in an undesirable position, contributing to my decision to close our family-run business and end this chapter of our lives,” wrote Vincent Colandrea, whose grandfather opened the Italian eatery on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 76th Street.
When the iconic restaurant first opened in 1936, a loaf of bread cost eight cents, and the famous Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie “Swing Time” made its debut.
Though the city was reeling from the Great Depression, Vincenzo Colandrea and his wife, Theresa, opened Vincent’s New Corner, a one-room pizzeria where Theresa served as the chef.
Over the years, the restaurant grew dramatically — expanding in 1971 under the watchful eye of Vincenzo’s son Joseph, drawing celebrities like Muhammed Ali and John Franco. New Corner’s delectable, homemade cuisine and its family feel won it praise, making it one of Brooklyn’s top food landmarks.
New Corner continued its excellence under its third owners, Vincent and Steven Colandrea, who took over the restaurant in 1983 and 1985, respectively. The pair pioneered interior renovations of the space while continuing to deliver top-tier cuisine from Sicily and the family’s native Naples, churning out old-time favorites such as vegetable-stuffed lasagna and homemade pasta.
But the restaurant’s prolonged closures because of COVID-19 restrictions forced the Colandreas to reevaluate the establishment’s future — and ultimately lead to the unfortunate decision to shutter, they said.
“Although a great amount of thought and emotional stress went into this process, I have no regrets, and will always cherish and reflect upon the wonderful memories you afforded us during this journey,” wrote Vincent in a press release on Oct. 1.
Vincent Colandrea thanked locals for eight decades of devoted service, and said he and his brother hope to dedicate themselves to their families in the next chapter of their lives.
“While this decision is bittersweet, and while we adjust to this new landscape and ‘new normal,’ I for one plan to spend more time with my family and loved ones. Our family will continue to be part of the community and we will certainly cherish the friendships and enjoyable times we shared while operating the restaurant,” he wrote. “We are truly overwhelmed by the support, faithfulness, and generosity many customers displayed to our restaurant and staff throughout our history and most recently during the pandemic; I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Dyker Heights residents and local leaders lamented the closure as a huge loss to the neighborhood.
Josephine Beckmann — the district manager of Community Board 10 who lives two blocks away from New Corner — said that eating at the restaurant was like being with family.
“It was an extension of your kitchen, not only were you getting a good meal but you were visiting the Colandrea family — they became a part of so many people’s families, and on top of that it was a return place that people would come back to even way after they left the neighborhood,” she said. “I just can’t imagine not having New Corner in our lives.”
Local Councilman Justin Brannan also mourned the loss, calling the Colandrea family part of the “fabric” of Dyker Heights.
“Generations came here to enjoy good times and great food over the past eight decades. Any list of ‘best red sauce joints in New York City’ always included New Corner,” he said. “Vincent, Joe, Steven, and the entire Colandrea family will forever be woven into the fabric of our neighborhood. This is truly the end of an era.”