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Armand-no! Beloved Montague Street eatery closes

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Armando’s is gone — again!

The long-time owner of beloved Armando’s restaurant in Brooklyn Heights closed its doors last week after 82 years in business — a big loss for the community, said the head of the local business-boosting group.

“Armando’s has been a pillar in the community for 82 years, and will be dearly missed,” said Kate Chura, the executive director of the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

Owner Peter Byros sold his landmarked Montague Street building — which once boasted its famous neon lobster sign out front — to a real-estate agent in February, according to city records.

Byros said he tried to work out a deal to continue leasing his old-school Italian kitchen, between Clinton and Henry streets, from the new operator so he could continue churning out his delicious red-sauce dishes that had locals, politicians, and even once-famous stars keep coming back for more, but it was too expensive and few tables were booked every night like they once were.

“Business is not what it used to be, used to be flourishing,” said Byros, who lives in Queens.

Byros briefly shuttered his legendary eatery in 2008 to make way for a now-closed Spicy Pickle sandwich shop in its place, but re-opened just a year-and-a-half later, to locals’ delight.

Byros, who ran the joint since 1981, isn’t sure what the new owners have planned for the landmarked building, but wouldn’t be surprised if they transformed it into a fast-food chain.

“Because that’s the one that pays the high rents,” he said.

Byros loved nothing more than serving the community for more than three decades, he said.

“I thank all my people for their support they’ve given me all these years, I’m very disappointed that I had to close down, but there was no other choice,” said Byros.

But not everyone is sad to see the staple Italian eatery shutter — one man, whose number is just one digit off from its owner’s but listed in city records for the restaurant, has gotten calls meant for him for the last decade and is hoping now that will finally end.

“It’s been happening to me for eight years. At first I tried to be helpful but after eight years it got to be very frustrating — I got more and more agitated as the years went by,” said the man from Connecticut who declined to give his name. “I don’t know how much business he lost, I tell people to blow off. I hope this is the last.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:55 pm, May 29, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If Byros really wanted to keep his restaurant open, he could have worked out a lease deal during the sale of the building. Sounds like he wanted to cash out, and spin some positive PR for himself at the same time.
May 29, 9:44 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
I ate there three times -- twice on someone else's dime. My assessment was that it was always mediocre and over-priced. Al Buon Gusto and Queen are much better.

But again, another empty retail space that will sit there for ages. Even the drug stores, banks and coffee places cannot possibly see potential there.
May 29, 11:37 am
Misty Noodle says:
Might this be a prime oppurtunity for Dunking Doughnuts to swoop in and take the neighborhood by storm?
Catch the doughnut wave that’s sweeping the nation!
May 29, 1:32 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Long live Communism. The cockroach infestation I am sure didn’t help. Fast foods are in now days , that’s what people are digesting in their belly buttons and asses .
May 30, 9:38 am

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