Sad news just came down the wire that Prospect Heights restaurant Marco’s (295 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-230-0427) is set to shutter on December 14. Marco’s is the Italian trattoria Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens opened just over a year ago in the space left vacant by their beloved pizzeria Franny’s when that restaurant moved to bigger digs down the street.
“Unfortunately, as amazing as the food is and as warm and skilled our service, the business simply hasn’t been profitable enough to keep the doors open. So on December 13, our team will cook and serve our last meal there,” the couple said in a statement. “As for the space at Marco’s, we are considering a few possibilities and will be sure to keep our guests posted on any news. And of course, franny’s and Bklyn Larder remain open and continue to thrive in our beloved neighborhood of Park Slope.”
Indeed, when we spoke to Feinberg and Stephens a month ago about their Brooklyn restaurants, they voiced frustration over the economics of doing business in this town. “The city is looking to restaurants to make up a lot of its income,” Stephens told us at the time. “And it’s small and medium businesses that suffer.”
The couple was especially worried about cost increases they’d see when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect this January, requiring them to pay for insurance for all of their employees. They estimated that they’d incur somewhere between $150,000 and $210,000 to be spread throughout their venues. “No one knows what’s going to happen,” Feinberg told us. “It’s like throwing everything in the air. How will we come up with that money? Raise prices? Or tack on a surcharge?”
Per chef Danny Amend, Marco’s was a complement to Franny’s: a place where the team could cook Italian food that didn’t make sense on the Franny’s menu. “Marco’s is trattoria-style cooking,” he told us in an interview earlier this year. “We love the flavor of wood, so we’re still using wood grilling and roasting here. We wanted to keep that sensibility of cooking food over an open fire.”
We’ve reached out to find out whether Amend, a longtime member of the Franny’s team before he helped Stephens and Feinberg open Marco’s, will head back to Franny’s. We’ll update when we hear.
Marco’s serves its last meal on December 13.