Thieves snatched a fancy espresso maker from the General Greene last week under the cover of darkness, but the owner of the high-end Fort Greene eatery hunted it down himself the next day.
Charles McMickens, the proprietor of the DeKalb Avenue restaurant, was devastated when some goons broke into his coffee kiosk on Jan. 19 and made off with a brand-new $5,000 espresso machine just 48 hours after the debut of the morning mud stand next to his eatery.
“It was shocking and took us completely by surprise,” he said. “But we were determined to start again.”
McMickens reported the crime to police after a barista came to work and found the booth facing Clermont Avenue had been busted open.
The crooks got away with the espresso boiler, a grinder valued at $1,200, a brewer that cost $500, and a refrigerator.
But as one would expect from a man who named his restaurant after a Revolutionary War hero, McMickens didn’t admit defeat.
“I took a day of mourning, and the next morning I collected myself,” he said. “I had an idea where the thieves might unload equipment like that.”
McMickens found half of his loot at his first stop, an Atlantic Avenue restaurant supply company. The fridge and brewer had already been resold, but he put a deposit on the goods until police arrived to retrieve them.
McMickens said that the burglars — who were recorded on a nearby business’s security camera — couldn’t have been coffee drinkers because they sold their spoils for only $125.
“It’s a sign of the times,” said Michael McCabe, a chef at the locavore hotspot. “Why take a bunch of heavy coffee equipment? It’s strange no one saw it.”
The General Greene will begin serving its Counter Culture joe again in two weeks — after workers make the java fort more secure.
“It’s a bad news, good news story,” McMickens said. “It’s a good omen. The gods must be shining on us.”
The General Greene [229 DeKalb Ave. at Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 222-1510]. For info, visit thegeneral