Churned up! Ridge ice cream icon Hinsch’s re-brands — again!

End of an era: Stewart’s is replacing the long-time Bay Ridge favorite Hinsch, but the owners say not much will change. Nothing will be taken off the menu, but some new Stewart’s items, including a soda line, will be added.
The Brooklyn Paper
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They’ve re-signed, but they’re not resigning.

A sign for New Jersey-based restaurant chain Stewart’s All-American now hangs over legendary Fifth Avenue diner Hinsch’s. Owners changed the name to attract new clientele, but the 66-year-old ice-cream-parlor-turned-diner is still Hinsch’s at heart, owners said.

“Old-timers of Bay Ridge know Hinsch’s, but the younger ones, to them it was just another place — they didn’t know what it was really,” said manager Lee Moudatsos, son of owner and Staten Island souvlaki mogul Mike Moudatsos. “So I figured we’d keep our old clientele and hopefully bring in some new people with a more recognizable name. It’s the same cooks, same waitresses, we have all the same things we used to.”

Patrons won’t mind the re-branding — as long as owners don’t shake up anything else, one long-time customer said.

“If nothing changes, I’ll still be going,” said Dorothy Oldaker, who has been going there 10 years. “They have really good food, give you a lot for your money, and the staff is really nice. It’s a nice place to go.”

With the new name comes new Stewart’s fare, such as hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, and the Stewart’s line of soft drinks, but the menu still promises the bevy of breakfast items, Greek diner fare, and the requisite egg cream the store’s previous iteration offered.

It’s not the first time a new marquee has marked change at the storied greasy spoon — the iconic diner’s history can be told by its signs.

The location is one of three that Bay Ridge ice cream magnate Herman Hinsch opened in the 1940s. Signs bearing his name and promising soda and candy heralded the Fifth Avenue store for decades. Hinsch sold the soda fountain to the Logue family in 1961. John Logue announced the eatery’s closure with a sign posted in the restaurant’s window in 2011. He cited a burdensome rent increase, but this paper revealed that the city’s Health Department shuttered the eatery after inspectors said operators were not storing food property and the site was a magnet for rats. A consortium of local restaurateurs stepped in to save the flagging food emporium but operating the Fifth Avenue store proved too expensive and they sold to the Moudatsos clan in 2013. Moudatsos renamed the place “Mike’s Hinsch’s” and erected a new sign claiming the historic one was in danger of falling.

Hinsch’s is the first Stewart’s in Brooklyn, but that didn’t seem to impress one longtime local who said he was never a fan of the soda fountain standby.

“Stewart’s or Hinsch’s — I don’t really give a s--- one way or the other,” said lifelong Ridgite John Christianson, 75. “I don’t really think too much about it to tell you the truth. I was never a favorite of Hinsch’s anyway. It was good for egg salad on toast — that was it. Or an egg cream.”

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John R. from Downtown Brooklyn says:
As a baby-boomer who has fond memories of the old Hinsch's, it is sad to see it replaced by another of a string of tacky fast-food restaurants that have invaded and occupied the heart of Bay Ridge. It's a pity that the previous owner did not provide a dining experience that could have attracted visitors from all parts of the borough and the city. There are many examples of restaurants that have done so in Brooklyn, a few of which have an international reputation. Bay Ridge deserves better. But unless the local business district does something to improve the neighborhood's signage and attract restaurants of distinction, it will always be a backwater destination in New York City for those seeking a one-of-a kind dining experience.
Nov. 14, 2015, 2:13 pm
LABJ from Bay Ridge says:
I was never a big fan of Hinsch's but it was one of the original Bay Ridge places. As a life long resident of Bay Ridge I can not believe how much 5th Avenue near 86th street and 86th street between 4th & 5th avenue has changed. It was a good place to shop years ago. Now, so many junk stores have appeared. Century was the go to place for almost anything. Now the home store has nothing I am seeking. I ask a sales rep for certain common items i.e. tub mats, curtain rods etc. and was told Century is a discount store and they don't carry this and that. I am close to sixty and shopped at Century since I was a teenager. I understand Century owns most of that stretch of 86th street, but maybe they could bring back items they sold in the past. I have to go to Amazon or the local hardware for shopping
Nov. 14, 2015, 7:30 pm

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