The community landmark and soda fountain known as Hinsch’sLuncheonette reopened its doors on Monday, November 28, to muchrelief and excitement from customers young and old.
It feels wonderful [to be back], said Kay Camberlange, whoarrived at the Fifth Avenue and 86th Street eatery at 10:30 a.m. onopening day with two of her friends for their favorite pancakes,scrambled eggs and bacon. We’ve been waiting all [autumn]. We usedto come every morning since 1957. It looks different now, but it’sstill nice.
The 63-year-old restaurant, which originally opened in 1915 asReichert’s Ice Cream Parlor before Herman Hinsch took over thebusiness in 1948, was shuttered suddenly on September 29 bythen-owner John Logue. The decision was spurred by currenteconomic conditions, customers’ changing eating patterns and [theLogue family’s] desire to retire early, Logue said at thetime.
It wasn’t long, though, before the nostalgia factory wasacquired by the owners of fellow Fifth Avenue eatery Skinflints andrenovations were underway to revamp the former ice cream parlor’sinterior while retaining the existing menu of classic burgers, eggcreams, waffles, ice cream sodas and other favorites from the 50sand 60s.
The kitchen staff remains mostly the same although they now workin an updated kitchen, and ice cream is still made on-site in thebasement, said co-owners Roger Desmond, Gerard Bell and BillGardella.
Hinsch’s’ much-loved handmade chocolates will continue to bemade by John Logue Jr., who learned the craft from his father.
We kept the look, added the [moving toy] trains above thecounter, color on the walls, and mirrors and plates, said Bell.We wanted to bring some flair, color and life back into it, drawyounger people and have an extensive menu with the same flavor, thesame ice cream menu… It’s exciting for the community. We’re gladto keep it alive.
That attention to details old and new might take some gettingused to but is already paying off, according to customers whostreamed in on opening day to see the changes for themselves.
I got a call from [Gerard’s wife] Lola Bell to attend theopening because I’ve been coming here since 1952. I would stand outin the street with friends [waiting to get in] and get chased bythe cops, said Skip McNellis, who brought his wife Ellen for aleisurely lunch of chicken wraps and sweet potato fries. I alwaysliked to come for the ice cream sodas and they have good soups,too.
It’s a beautiful place with marvelous food and a greatreputation, said former Hinsch’s cashier/receptionist MaryMaunsell. If you live in Bay Ridge, even if you move away, youalways come back to Hinsch’s.
Also on hand to celebrate the grand opening with aribbon-cutting ceremony were Brooklyn Borough President MartyMarkowitz, State Senator Marty Golden, Councilmember VincentGentile, Linda Lupia from Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny’soffice, and local business leaders Patrick Condren and RobertHowe.
Hinsch’s Luncheonette’s hours up until Christmas Day will befrom 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and from 8a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Breakfast is serveddaily until noon.