Brooklyn Heights

Teresa’s, the beloved Brooklyn Heights eatery, is up for rent

The restaurant's owner wants to lease out the building, and the neighbors are in shock.

September 11, 2019 Mary Frost
Teresa’s Restaurant, at 80 Montague St. in Brooklyn Heights. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

After 30 years of running a neighborhood institution, the owners of Teresa’s Restaurant at 80 Montague St. have listed the business as up for lease. Brooklyn Heights residents are in a state of disbelief.

Teresa Brzozowska and her brother Bogdon Brzozowska have been serving Polish-style blintzes, pierogies, borscht, stuffed cabbage and eggs Benedict at this local stalwart since 1989.

“I’ve been coming here as long as I can remember,” Maureen Salter, who has lived in Brooklyn Heights for 20 years, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “It’s almost like a community center, where you see people coming and going. Maybe you don’t know their name, but you certainly know the faces.”

She added, “The last thing Montague Street needs is to lose another neighborhood staple that serves the entire community, and another vacant storefront. It would be such a blow to the community”

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But Teresa Brzozowska, who owns both the building and the restaurant within, is ready for a change.

She previously owned other restaurants in the East Village and in Forest Hills, both of which are closed now.

“Not having Teresa’s in the Heights will be a heavy blow,” long-time customer Andrew Porter told the Eagle on Tuesday. “Man does not live by Chinese food alone!”

He added, “I’ve been eating there for decades, and I will really miss Teresa’s when they close. When I published a magazine, I’d take my Hungarian-born editorial assistant there for Lazanki. I’m a big fan of their mushroom-barley soup, the liver and onions, and many other dishes.”

It’s the kind of news neighborhood people are stopping each other on the street and talking about.

“I just love that place, and so does everybody else I’ve been speaking to,” Heights resident Linda Hirsch told the Eagle (after stopping this reporter in the street). “We’re going to be so upset if it closes. Everybody I know goes there, everybody loves it … And their food is delicious, and excellent prices.”

She added, “Soon we’ll have nothing left on Montague Street.”

Teresa’s has been in its day the Sunday brunch spot for gatherings of writers like Norman Mailer, Brooklyn’s poet laureate Norman Rosten and illustrator David Levine; a place where literature lovers held private Shakespeare readings at tables in the back; where chess players met for a friendly round; and where parents brought their kids after play dates at the Pierrepont Street playground.

“It’s sad,” one employee said. “This is old school. It’s the kind of place I love.”

More than half of the customers are regulars, the employee said. Business from tourists was off a bit since so many now head to DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park, rather than the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the employee speculated. Whether the upcoming work on the BQE had anything to do with the decision, the employee had no idea.

The real estate website described the restaurant as approximately 2,200 square feet with a full basement and outdoor seating for 26, with 25-foot frontage.

“Steps from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Located on elegant Brooklyn Heights corridor,” the ad says.

Claude Scales, editor of the Brooklyn Heights Blog, where neighbors are discussing the news, told the Eagle that he once saw Spike Lee and a woman companion having lunch at one of Teresa’s outdoor tables.

“It would be great if whoever takes it over keeps the menu and staff (even if some are occasionally grumpy), and maybe, with permission, the name,” he added.

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