Monday, January 12, 2009


Patois paved the way for a treasure trove of young restaurateurs and barkeeps along Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. But, now after 11-years the trailblazing restaurant has closed. The doors swung shut last night (Sunday). Owner Alan Harding told the Brooklyn Paper that he couldn't afford the big rent increase demanded by the owners. In 1997, when Harding opened Patois on Smith Street between Douglas and Degraw Streets the rent was just $900 a month. Now, rent on the bar and restaurant lined strip has soared into the thousands. The building's owner insists the reason Harding and his partners are out is because they failed to pay back rent. Harding denies that.

Patois was the first non-ethnic, gourmet restaurant to open along Smith Street. It paved the way for dozens of new places, including highly rated eateries like Grocery, Saul, Po and Chestnut. There are many more. Before Patois, many of the Smith street storefronts were boarded up or even used as street level apartments. It was not uncommon to see dinner and brunch lines outside the French bistro. I have to admit, I haven't eaten at Patois in several years. But, it has nothing to do with the food or the service. It's just that so many other great places have opened up on the strip...and besides, a cook a lot. Patois, you will be missed.

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