Sections

Mastellone makes way for second location of embattled Pacific Green

Mastellone’s last day: Beloved Carroll Gardens Italian grocery closes

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Out with the old and a battle with J. Crew.

Mastellone Italian Deli, a beloved Carroll Gardens grocery store, is closing today, making way for an embattled Cobble Hill grocer to open a second location.

Court Street’s Mastellone deli is closing its doors after some 80 years of serving up homemade mozzarella and Italian meats. When the shutters open next, the store on the corner of Degraw Street will be an outpost of Pacific Green Gourmet Food, the green grocer battling its landlord’s bid to replace it with national clothing retailer J. Crew.

Mastellone’s proprietor, Vincent Mastellone, said that the move to close had nothing to do with market pressures but that he has simply had enough.

“I’ve been here for a long time and it was just time to close up,” Mastellone said.

The timing worked well for Billy Solmaz, a co-owner of Pacific Green. Mastellone reached out to the fellow grocer after hearing about the Cobble Hill store’s rental woes. Solmaz is currently gearing up to sue his landlord, who he says is unlawfully kicking out Pacific Green to roll out a welcome mat for J. Crew. Mastellone said that when he heard news of the power play, he immediately called Solmaz to let him know that the storefront he owns would soon be open for a new tenant.

Solmaz jumped at the chance, but he plans to manage the two stores and fight his current landlord, not cut and run.

“If something happens with [the Cobble Hill store] we will make sure we have a second store,” Solmaz said. “We are not going anywhere soon.”

The Turkey-born grocer said that, when he opened Pacific Green in 2000, he signed a 15-year lease. But in May his landlord told him that the store has until the end of the year to move out, according to Solmaz.

The new grocery store will be called Big Apple Gourmet and is expected to open in two months. It will carry a variety of produce but it will not include anything like Mastellone’s meats or deli counter.

Mastellone fans were upset to learn that another treasured Carroll Gardens institution has bitten the dust.

“It’s sad to hear another one of the neighborhood icons is going to close,” said Carroll Gardens native Kristina Esposito, who for years has gone to the old-fashioned grocery to buy homemade chicken cutlets.

Mastellone said that he knew loyal customers would be devastated by the closure, but that his 27-year-old son’s decision not to take over the business sealed the deal.

“It was getting to be too much for me,” Mastellone said.

Pacific Green’s landlord could not be reached for comment by press time.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Bob Scott from Brooklyn says:
This is nuts. The area's newcomers got all emotional because a relative newcomer — a good but hardly exceptional greengrocer — was being forced out by J. Crew. Now the greengrocer is forcing out a authentic old-time traditional business and no one gives a hoot. Give me a break!
July 31, 2013, 7:14 am
Rob says:
Sad another Italian place is closing, another nail in the coffin for Carroll Gardens Italian community.
July 31, 2013, 8:21 am
Rob says:
Sad another Italian place is closing, another nail in the coffin for Carroll Gardens Italian community.
July 31, 2013, 8:21 am
Brklynmind from Downtown says:
Please explain to me what right Pacific Green has to the store after the lease is up. What possible grounds for a lawsuit does he have?
July 31, 2013, 8:56 am
Mary Ann from Brooklyn Heights says:
What a shame. I remember shopping at Mastellone's as a little girl when they were still on Union Street below Columbia Place. We had a Saturday morning ritual. We would take the tolley to Union and Columbia and Mastellone's was always our first stop. They always had whatever we needed...and the best quality. They always maintained that level of quality over they years.
Our day took us to Frank's Dry Good Store (also gone). We stopped at every single push-cart along the way.
Our last four stops, in order, were the Latticini Barese (gone also), the bread store (gone), Fernando's, which somehow has survived, where we would buy panelles to bring home to my father, and finally the chicken market (UGH), which I believe is still there.
I guess I must be getting old because all these changes make me sad.
I wish Mastellone a joyful retirement. We will miss him.
July 31, 2013, 9:14 am
Susie from Carroll Gardens says:
You want good Italian goods, move to Park Slope. Lots of new things over there, L'Albero dei Gelati just opened and they are from Lombardy Italy and the entire staff are Italian speakers and so are many of the customers. Best meat and cheese and sandwiches in Brooklyn. And of course gelato!
July 31, 2013, 10:26 am
Susie from Carroll Gardens says:
You want good Italian goods, move to Park Slope. Lots of new things over there, L'Albero dei Gelati just opened and they are from Lombardy Italy and the entire staff are Italian speakers and so are many of the customers. Best meat and cheese and sandwiches in Brooklyn. And of course gelato!
July 31, 2013, 10:26 am
The Chooch from Choochinello's Artisanal Tuscan Hipsterello Fine Foods says:
HEY! ... Piantalla !!! No one is "forcing" anyone anywhere. Jayzus! A grocer's lease runs out. Another grocer wants to retire. Sonny doesn't want to take over the business after a hundred years already because he's going to law school hello. This story has played a thousand times in Brooklyn. And maybe the other guy does have a valid case against his landlord, we don't know that, maybe he'll hire Sonny. Maybe Sonny will marry a hipster chick. "MARIA ... I JUST MET A GIRL NAMED MARIA!" Life is good, folks. Business is good. Brooklyn is lucky. You're welcome. Any time.
July 31, 2013, 12:10 pm
Maria Vario from Red Hook says:
Latticini Barese RIP
July 31, 2013, 6:44 pm
Maria Vario from Red Hook says:
Latticini Barese RIP
July 31, 2013, 6:44 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Susie, that's quite true. There are many excellent, real Italian groceries in Park Slope that are run by real Italians. Sadly, I suspect none of that matters to the badabing crowd, for whom nothing is ever good enough. They're still fighting 1950's turf wars 65 years later, and inexorably losing to yuppies & hipsters (translation: anyone who can read); that many of those yuppies and hipsters are more authentic Italian than they are is endlessly confusing to them. But hey whatever, the rest of us get to enjoy the best that life has to offer, including peerless Italian delicacies.
July 31, 2013, 7:01 pm
Epektasis from Lakeshore says:
Glad there are still authentic Italian deli's around. Giacomo and garlic uniting soul and body.
Aug. 1, 2013, 11:01 am
slick from park slope says:
Any of them have excellent chicken burgers like Mastellone?
Aug. 1, 2013, 3:20 pm
Laura from PS says:
Best chicken burger in NYC is at Purbird on 6th Avenue and St. Marks in Park Slope.

http://www.purbird.com/
Aug. 1, 2013, 4:51 pm
Pat I. from Brooklyn says:
Maybe he threw out too many beardos for asking if the "CAPPY COO-OL-OH was locally sourced.

Maybe he was a little too local for Zander's taste.
Aug. 1, 2013, 7:59 pm
Melissa from Carroll Gardens says:
I live in the neighborhood. People keep making up reasons for what is happening. Pacific Green isn't squeezing out Mastellone -- he is ready to retire (and may he have a happy retirement!) Parents' businesses close when their kids don't want to carry the business on. A man saw his exit when someone else was looking for a storefront. That's ok, that's not evil.
Aug. 2, 2013, 5:41 pm
Long time resident from Carroll gardens says:
This neo liberal communist, anti establishment island known as carroll gardens has nothing to do or in comparison with the neighborhood I grew up in.

People the elitist snobby element that lives here now wouldn't last a day with the people,I grew up with.

Please do not think for a second you live in brooklyn, you recreated bland, boring, artsy, pretentious manhattan here.

I'm moving away, I have had enough of snobbery, of elitism, of the smug unfriendliness. Keep it all.
Aug. 27, 2013, 10:27 pm
tony from carroll garden says:
pacific green did such a bad job at the mastellone location they should be chased out of the neighborhood. all they did was ruin the reputation of a good location in the area. mastellone would of never given the location to pacific green if they knew it was going to be so badly runed.
Jan. 25, 2015, 5:50 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!