A number of popular Forest Hills stores and restaurants have shuttered recently, prompting some residents to worry their neighborhood may be losing its unique character along with its mom-and-pop stores.
“I feel that Forest Hills is losing its class and distinctive nature and becoming a more predictable and generic community,” said Michael Perlman, a local resident and historian.
Danny Brown Wine Bar and Kitchen on Metropolitan Avenue, which was awarded a coveted star in the Michelin Guide, was unable to renew its lease and will close by the end of the year.
It will follow several other longtime restaurants in the area, including Pasta Del Giorno on Austin Street, as well as Uno Pizzeria and Santa Fe steakhouse on the so-called Restaurant Row on 70th Road, between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard — all of which closed after decades in business.
Brandon Cinemas, a two-screen movie theater on Austin Street, closed last year, as did the nearby Strawberry clothing store earlier this year. Barnes & Noble is set to close in January.
Some venues are replaced quickly with similar types of establishments, like Mexican eatery El Coyote which took over for Garcia’s Mexican Cafe on Austin Street. The new restaurant Rove is also replacing Bonfire Grill, which closed earlier this year.
But in some cases, like Santa Fe, storefronts remain empty for months. Other venues, including Brandon Cinemas and Pasta Del Giorno, have been taken over by banks and walk-in medical facilities. Barnes & Noble, on Austin Street, will be replaced by a Target.