If you've walked down Myrtle recently, you may have noticed some work being done in the corner storefront of the Renken Dairy building at Classon. Maybe you've also noticed the new sign hanging above it, or stopped in to speak with the folks renovating the space. Good news! This new hot spot, a retro-cool restaurant called the Square Root Cafe is almost ready to open!
I stopped in a few weeks ago to get some photos of the progress being made and to talk to the owner, Eda Sanchez-Persampieri. She and her husband Joe are doing an amazing job retaining many elements of the historic space (which has sat empty for years), as well as brightening up the interior. The corner windows are gorgeous! (swoon)
Square Root Cafe will open on January 1, offering FREE BRUNCH from 1-5pm! It'll be the perfect opportunity to feed your hangover and welcome the restaurant to the area!
1. You'll be opening a new restaurant on Myrtle called Square Root Cafe. What's the theme going to be? How about the cuisine? My husband Joe and I are totally stoked about opening in Clinton Hill! The restaurant will feature a casual environment decorated with the mid century antiques & collectibles ( funky junk) that we have collected over the past 10-12 years.
The food will be homestyle gourmet- lots of classic dishes with some updated ingredients. Joe is a 2001 graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. One of Joe's classmates was the then-wife of Richard Dreyfus and he actually came to the commencement- How cool is that?
2. Do you live in Clinton Hill? How did you decide to open the cafe?
We actually live up by the Navy Yard.
We had the idea for a cafe about five years ago and seeing the explosion of independent retailers on Myrtle decided we should go ahead and do it before the neighborhood became oversaturated with cafes!
3. What did you do before the restaurant? When did you decide to take the plunge?
Actually we are both continuing to work.
I work in apparel production/sourcing and my job stints have included being on the teams that launched the Sean John & Daisy Fuentes brands.
>Joe is a 25 year veteran of FDNY but he plans to retire next year.
We decided in June to take the plunge and looked at a lot of available storefronts but we knew we definitely wanted to be on Myrtle!
4. Will the restaurant be in the building with the milk company sign? Any info on the history of that place?
Yup we are in the milk building. Renken Dairy owned a number of buildings in the area. Our building was actually home to the corporate offices and retail storage. The basement has this cool old-fashioned walk-in refrigerator (which is now our office) and another smaller room was used as the vault -- there's a real vault door you have to walk through!
5. Tell me about the thriving community of Myrtle Ave merchants. How did you decide to open there?
Myrtle has just exploded in the last 3-4 years, We moved to the area when it was first stating to pop and the energy in the streets is inspiring. We definitely wanted to be on Myrtle hands down over any other street -- even Dekalb!
6. What's your favorite local hangout in the neighborhood?
7. How long have you lived in Clinton Hill? How has it changed since then?
We have lived as a couple in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Wallabout area since 2004, first in a loft in the Choclate Factory and now over on Cumberland down the street from the Sweet & Low Company.
What we love about the area is that it is so diverse and that the residents embrace the diversity.
8. What kinds of events will the cafe be hosting? Art exhibits ( painting and photos) , live music (most likely Jazz, Blues or Jazz Fusion 2-4x a month) and weekly Movie/TV night with classic vintage movie& tv shows. We might do an open mic night 1x a week. I am also kicking around the idea of a film festival- showing local artists films.
9. What else would you like to see open in the neighborhood?
Gourmet Deli- Like Fourage in Dumbo Gourmet Cheese shop- Like Stinky's in Carol Gardens/Cobble Hill>
We would love to open a gourmet deli- If Square Root is successful, we might give it a go.
10. If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Joe is definetly chocolate ice cream because just about everyone likes chocolate ice cream and everyone immediately likes Joe!
I am green tea flavor -- an acquired taste but once you like you love it.
Square Root Cafe 584 Myrtle Ave. at Classon 718-230-7077 www.squarerootcafe.com