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To renewed Heights! Promenade mainstay gets makeover

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Brooklyn Heights staple is back and better than ever.

The Heights Cafe, which has sat near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at the intersection of Montague and Hicks streets for 20 years, reopened on Monday after a six-week overhaul. Owners tested the waters over the weekend with a soft opening and it turned out better than they had hoped.

“We thought we’d do it quietly,” said Greg Markman, who owns the neighborhood mainstay along with his father, brother, and childhood friend. “It was full throttle everyday.”

The makeover was a first for the popular brunch spot, and included the installation of new wood floors, cozy booths, a bronze mesh ceiling, and a sleek curved bar. The owners brought back the restaurant’s original interior designer Randi Halpern to do the job.

“We wanted to keep the place fresh and revitalize it,” said Markman. “We want it to be a place people feel comfortable calling a second home — or a second kitchen.”

The menu also got a sprucing-up, with former Henry’s End chef Rob Weiner adding a number of seafood dishes to compliment the classic Heights Burger and strip steaks. Weiner wants to make sure there is something in the offing for everybody, including the regulars from around the corner and visitors going for a stroll on the promenade,

“We have a mix of tourists and locals,” Weiner said. “We’re trying to balance out the menu to satisfy everyone.”

The sidewalk seating at Heights Cafe often fills up in the warmer months as people stop for a meal before taking in some of the best views in Brooklyn from the end of Montague Street. Markman said it was important to open up just as the weather is improving.

“It’s perfect timing,” he said.

On a block that sees a lot of restaurant turnover, Heights Cafe’s run is impressive.

The success results from a combination of good food, friendly staff, and great customers, Markman said.

“We’ve been here 20 years. I think that qualifies us as an institution.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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