Everyone except city Health bureaucrats enjoyed a Taste of Hawthorne — and now the restaurant is shut down.
The backyard eatery run out of a Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartment — with no health inspection, permits, or sanitation grades, but plenty of love — met a predictable demise last week after the inevitable visit from the Health Department.
Patrice Carter, who became an instant food world celebrity after opening the cheap, casual and delicious restaurant on Hawthorne Street, said the health inspector wasn’t too harsh — just doing his job.
“It wasn’t anything negative — it was just [a result of all the] publicity,” she said.
Indeed, the glowing press that the restaurant received was good for business, but also guaranteed that the business would not last long (even though Carter and her fellow cook, Doreen Simpson, made sure to remind their diners that they were officially “friends,” not customers to avoid city attention).
According to a spokeswoman for the Health Department, the pair of chefs shut down their renegade restaurant last month after receiving a formal “cease and desist” letter from the city. When an inspector made a follow-up visit to the apartment on Oct. 9, he reported back that the Taste of Hawthorne was closed, ending this culinary saga.
Still, the vaguely West Indian restaurant briefly served as a rare space where people from all parts of the diverse and gentrifying neighborhood of “PLG” rubbed elbows over hamburgers, salmon sliders, fries and jerk chicken.
Carter said she was happy with what she and Simpson had accomplished, and that the pair had planned on running their fly-by-night operation only in the summer anyway.
“It required our backyard — obviously, you can’t have people back there when it’s freezing cold,” she said, suggesting that the restaurant concept would be back in some form next summer.
“I realized I have this love for cooking. I’d like to do something in a proper restaurant — something that isn’t butting heads with anybody,” she said.