The fat is no longer in the fire for the beloved A&S Pork Store in Park Slope, now that the venerable shop has announced it will move within the sausage-loving neighborhood rather than close.
A sign posted this week in the window of the Fifth Avenue store announced the move from near First Street to a larger storefront between Second and Third streets that currently houses a martial arts school.
“We are all very excited,” said a partner, Mel Diaz.
The store’s current location will close on Sept. 28 and reopen in late November in the new location. Diaz said he and his partners are still designing the space, but they plan to stock more Italian specialties, expand their meals-to-go options, and build a room dedicated solely to making sausage.
“We haven’t decided where everything will be located yet,” he said. “We just signed the lease last week,” Diaz said.
Concerns over the legendary store’s demise first circulated earlier this summer when the store’s owners and landlord squabbled over rent. An A&S owner, Salvatore Bonello, threatened to close forever because rents across the neighborhoods were so high and space was so tight.
The store will be paying more than the current $5,000-per-month rent at the new location, but Diaz would not elaborate beyond saying the price is “expensive.”
The martial arts studio will, in turn, be moving to a much-needed larger space on Union Street and Third Avenue, said its owner, Tessa Gordon.
“We’re obviously happy about A&S not having to close,” Gordon said. “I love their stuffed peppers.”
Meat-lovers borough-wide were rejoicing, too.
“When I want a good sandwich, I come here, and I’m very picky about my sandwiches,” said real-estate broker Jesselle Eli, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “I would have helped them find a new place — I would do anything to keep this place open.”
And for Park Slopers, the news was that much more significant.
“All of these neighborhood places are going out of business,” said Jean LeBec, 60. “I appreciate all the new restaurants and boutiques, but it’s upsetting after a while. It changes the character of the neighborhood. I’m glad it didn’t happen [here].”
Anthony Scicchitano first opened the shop in 1948 and built the company into an empire with 26 franchises in Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey. When Scicchitano died in 2006, his daughters took over the building and leased the space to Bonnello, who had worked closely with the founder.
But that relationship became strained last year, leading to the rent dispute, the threat to close and the sandwich-saving move.
— with Michael Lipkin