These restaurateurs have come a Long way!
The guys who years ago reopened Atlantic Avenue’s iconic Long Island Restaurant as a bustling bar with the same name debuted a brand new food-and-drink spot in Fort Greene this month.
But this time, the co-owners — who meticulously restored their Long Island Bar, which is within the landmarked Cobble Hill Historic District — built their new eatery Rockwell Place from the ground up, with a look they described as more modern than that of their other well-preserved watering hole, but not without some blasts from the past.
“The interior is pretty radically different, it’s sort of an industrial modern space with furniture touches from the 1950s and 1960s,” said Joel Tompkins. “More modern sleek.”
The new joint is tucked away on the quiet street it is named after, but just a short walk from some of the area’s new high-rises and long-standing cultural venues such as Bric and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, whose residents and patrons started flocking to the restaurant shortly after it opened on Dec. 11, according to Tompkins.
“More people are discovering it each day,” he said. “I really like the idea of having a bar around the corner from the Harvey Theater, where people can come and go after a show. As far as I know, you have to walk pretty far to get to a place with a similar caliber of cocktails and food.”
Tompkins eyed the space for years — starting back in the early aughts when he used to live on the block — and said he and co-owner Toby Cecchini pounced on it when the lease finally became available in 2017.
And Rockwell Place’s interior isn’t the only detail that differentiates it from its sister spot — the chef at the 65-seat eatery is cooking up a menu of New American dishes that Tompkins described as more elevated than Long Island Bar’s pub food.
“We have a similarly sized menu, but it’s a different style of food,” he said.
The change in cuisine may come as a disappointment to fans of Long Island Bar’s burger, which many critics hail as among the city’s best, but did not make the cut when it came to putting Rockwell Place’s menu together, according to Tompkins.
“We don’t have burgers and fries,” he said.
Still, both he and Cecchini believe their Fort Greene eatery will become go-to neighborhood watering hole just like its beloved sibling.
“It’s just a delightful space to be in, warm and welcoming,” Tompkins said.
Rockwell Place (31 Rockwell Pl. between DeKalb Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene, www.thero