Touristy Fulton Ferry becoming food haven for locals, too
by Rose L. Thayer
Jul 22, 2009 | 2945 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Anita Washington, a bartender at One Front Street, serves up a mojito.
For years, Grimaldi's Pizzeria has been the main attraction for tourists visiting the quiet Fulton Ferry neighborhood. But now, as the population surges in nearby DUMBO, more and more restaurants are popping up, and they're hoping to attract local business.

At least three new restaurants are opening on or near Old Fulton Street, including One Front Street, which is hoping to open officially by next month.

The location, originally built as a bank, is a registered historic landmark and was most recently an Asian-fusion restaurant.

Owner Marcelo Pevida said he hired restaurant consultant Ray Montgomery to create an American bistro/lounge that neighborhood residents can relate to. Pevida said the restaurant would compliment Grimaldi's.

"Grimaldi's is the best pizza. It's a quality product and if we do our part and bring [another] good product with quality service it helps round out the community more," Montgomery said. "We are community-friendly. We're doing our part and I think we'll do very well here."

The bar of One Front Street offers small batch, specialty-infused liquors. One of the more popular ones is the Spicy Passion Margarita, made with seven-pepper infused tequila, fresh passion fruits, and agave nectar.

"If you can get good music, good food, and good drinks three blocks from your apartment, why take a cab across the bridge?" said bartender Anita Washington.

Pete Karangelen, who moved to Brooklyn about a month ago, dropped by One Front Street last Sunday afternoon to enjoy a drink. He said he used to travel to Manhattan to go out to eat, but recently began trying places in the neighborhood.

"It's good having a variety of places on this side of the bridge," Karangelen said. "If you X-out the big buildings, it's not that different."

Beforehand, Karangelen said he stopped for a hot dog at The Landing, an old world-style hot dog cart owned by Richard Mauro, the president of the Fulton Ferry Business Association who has been dubbed the mayor of DUMBO by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mauro said the cart, which sits on an empty lot on Old Fulton Street and serves hot dogs named after different U.S. regions, such as the Chicago Dog, the Texas Meal Dog and the Berlin Currywurst, is an experiment for his own restaurant plans.

"There's a basic need for a variety with DUMBO becoming so populated. [Residents] want a variety. It's the same as in Brooklyn Heights," Mauro said.

Montgomery agreed. "The quality of life increased when professional residents came in," he said. "It gives a need for the service industry."

When asked why he chose Fulton Ferry, Louis Termini, owner of the four-month-old Ignazio's Pizzeria said, "Just look out the window."

From his location on Water Street, customers can see the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. "It's an international tourist zone. Everything is right there," Termini added.

As for serving pizza around the corner from Grimaldi's, he said he's not afraid. He was even so bold as to call his pizza "The Pizza," but admits he is shooting more for the local crowd than so many tourists.

"Locals can actually get in here. We're the second busiest restaurant in the area," Termini said.

Mauro had words of advice for others hoping to open restaurants in the area.

"Be impeccable in the quality of food you serve. Be responsible to the customer and the community," he said, and "be diligent in terms of cleanliness and serve the best quality you can make."

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