Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
So it looks like Fat Cat Bistro is no more (bailiff sign in the window this morning - doors locked), a mere month after opening - pretty shocking really.
With Bouga falling apart week by week, the Rocking Chair Cafe remaining empty and work on the "renovated" Honeymoon completely halted, what on earth is going on, food-wise, in that little strip?
Can anyone shed any light on Bouga, Honeymoon and Fat Cat?
Banners, Monkey Nuts and Bar Esteban prove that there's money to be made in the area, but maybe rents are too high for new start ups? If you don't hit the ground running (as Tootoomoo and Esteban did) it looks like your days are numbered.
For a long time it was believed there was a curse on the site where Melange is now trading, apparently successfully. So many businesses had come and gone from there (expensive fish and chips, GBK, the chap from the Music Palace and others) that every attempt seemed doomed. Perhaps the Crouch End curse is peripatetic, like something out of a Stephen King story.
The whole question of charisma is mysterious to me - Bar Esteban has been packed out since it opened - is there a magic ingredient someone can package, but which Fat Cat was lacking
Bar Esteban was/is helped by a very good chef and very expensive looking fittings and finishings.
I think some people in Crouch End have money to throw around, so anything that looks fairly classy and nice will do alright, Sadly, anywhere that doesn't measure up immediately (unless it's a greasy spoon) won't be busy. Also, I did notice that Fat Cat was shut more days than it was open (with accompanying excuses) so it was never going to get any regulars.
Having said that, they really don't seem to have got a fair crack of the whip and it's a real shame we have another empty premises on Park Road.
Thinking about Honeymoon and Boug - presumably the new owners went in there and were shocked by just how much work had/has to be done to get them up to scratch. I just hope that whoever is working on them manages to get enough money together to finish them off asap, or sells them on to someone who can as four empty units in a very short distance doesn't look good.
Sadly, I think we can now add Pizza Bella to to the list of vacant eateries on Park Road. Despite a sign in the window saying 'Your new Pizza Bella will open soon' it's been closed for two weeks with no sign of any life inside.
The ever-lengthening and depressing list now reads: Pizza Bella, Bouga, Honeymoon, Fat Cat Cafe and Rocking Chair Cafe - all within 30 yards of each other.
has fat cat shut then? to be honest i tried to book a table thee in november and there was no phone no on their terrible website and could not google phone number so tried to tweet at them but by time they replied i had booked somewehre else!
you had a lucky escape!
The owner at Rhoda told me that one landlord owns most of that row, and that rents were so ridiculous that it's no wonder places go under all the time. Although it seems they do.
They happen to own the Rhoda building so don't have that problem.
What about that 'posh' sweet shop? Selling 2 Wham Bars a week isn't going to pay the rent :-)
Well that explains it then. I really wish something could be done - it's such a shame that so many properties remain empty due to simple greed. Surely a small profit is better than no profit at all. How much money does this man/woman have that they can leave half a street to decay?
If he/she is expecting a high street store to pay extortionate rates then he/she will be waiting a long, long time. There's no access road to restock the stores and double yellow lines outside, so indepedent, small business are the only option.
Whoever is responsible should be ashamed of themselves. (Right, rant over)
Apparently, they bought up most of the properties back in the early 90s, when by all accounts Crouch End was not what it is now. So, the landlord has probably more than made his/her money back and can afford for them to be empty if necessary.
The very pleasant couple who own Turquoise and Pearl want to open an upmarket Turkish restaurant in Crouch End; he ran one on the Bosphorus for 12 years and she was an antique dealer in Istanbul. They were interested in Bouga but the council reported that they were unable to contact the owner.
Apparently, the people behind Bar Esteban looked into renting Bouga, but the price asked (and the accompanying paperwork) was insane, so they went elsewhere. Maybe the owner of the property loves graffitti, litter and decaying plasterwork and it's some kind of art installation. Such a shame.
I heard that the landlord is a Greek fellow, based on Green Lanes somewhere, and yes, demands extortionate rents. Is it worth contacting the council about all these, and demand something being done?
How about encouraging pop up shops? There needs to be life on Park Road, or other businesses will start suffering too. I don't understand how a landlord can be allowed to act like this times being what they are. Who's the local Councillor for Crouch End? Worth getting in touch and voicing local residents' concern?
Although I think this is a nice sentiment, I don't see how you can force private landlords to do anything with properties on High Streets. Also, from what I've heard, you don't mess with the Greek landlords of Green Lanes :-)