EXCLUSIVE: Could new arena serve up taste of Bay Ridge?

August 22, 2012 Helen Klein
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One Bay Ridge landmark has a chance of creaming the competition.

The homemade ice cream served at Hinsch’s Luncheonette, on Fifth Avenue near 85th Street, is under consideration by business mogul Bruce Ratner – the driving force behind the Barclays Center which is opening this fall – to be served at the new arena, according to Roger Desmond, one of Hinsch’s owners, who said that Ratner and his daughter stopped by the Ridge eatery on Monday, August 20, to taste the restaurant’s food and learn about its famous take on the frosty treat.

“His daughter was here the week before,” Desmond said. “I think he came because his daughter recommended it.”

Ratner and his daughter tasted a couple of salads and the luncheonette’s iconic egg cream, though they passed on the ice cream, because they were on a diet, said Desmond. “But they were blown away by the concept that the place has been making ice cream for the last 100 years,” he noted.

Desmond – who said he hadn’t applied for his food to be sold at the arena — acknowledged he doesn’t know Hinsch’s chances of scoring a place on the Barclays Center menu.

“How would I know?” Desmond asked, laughing. “This is big business. I’m a little storekeeper, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. I’d love to get it. I’m certainly up for it. It would be nice for Bay Ridge, nice for Hinsch’s.”

Ratner’s people weren’t talking. Contacted for comment, Barry Baum – senior vice president of communications for the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center – responded only, “We are not discussing our food program at this time.”

Previously, Baum had told this paper that Barclays Center was looking for Brooklyn foods to offer to arena-goers.

“Earlier this spring, we opened an application process for local Brooklyn food and beverage vendors to apply for potential placement in Barclays Center,” Baum had said. “We’re in the process of choosing. We researched more than 150 local vendors. We anticipate having more than 30 food and beverage vendors in the arena. The goal is to make it a very authentically Brooklyn menu. That is very important to Bruce Ratner and to Barclays Center. We want to be different.”

Heather J. Chin contributed reporting.


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