3. Gage & Tollner (1892)
Gage & Tollner, Oyster and Chop House circa 1960, Photographic postcard, V1988.54.22; Brooklyn Historical Society.
372 Fulton Street was once home to the famed restaurant Gage & Tollner, frequented by icons like Truman Capote, Mae West, and Jimmy Durante — and in December of this year, the restaurant will re-open again after years of use discount clothing and phone shop. The building was built in 1875 and the restaurant operated here from 1892 until the mid 1990s. It was a place where New York city’s elite families and the celebrities of the day dined amidst elegant surroundings. A 1930 restaurant guide proclaimed that “Gage & Tollner is to Brooklyn what the Statue of Liberty is to New York Harbor,” and another guide went so far as to say it was “Brooklyn’s main contribution to civilization.”
The building is both an interior and exterior landmark of New York City, the first dining establishment to be designated. When the space re-opens, it will also have a new tiki bar upstairs, the Sunken Harbor Club. Speaking with the Gage & Tollner team, we learned that much of what made the restaurant famous will remain, including “the ornate brass chandeliers (though they won’t be gas-lit unfortunately!), original Lincrusta panels, the arched, gilded mirrors running the length of the room.”
As for the food, chef Sohui Kim says, “I want to honor Gage & Tollner’s long history of serving simple food that people crave. As exciting and diverse as the current culinary climate is in this city, people still love iconic chophouse favorites like Caesar salad, creamed spinach, or a perfectly cooked ribeye. My goal is to elevate these classics without reinventing them or making them gimmicky, using meticulously sourced ingredients and diligent technique. Our relationship with food isn’t just physical; it’s emotional as well. And I want the food we serve to live up to our guests’ best memories of Gage & Tollner. For a chef, that’s a challenge if there ever was one!”