For years, St. John Frizell would take his son to school in Downtown Brooklyn and feel “confused” by the neighborhood’s lack of sit-down restaurants.
“You just had to look up to know what was happening,” said Mr. Frizell, the restaurateur who owns Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn. “There’s cranes everywhere, and these huge towers going up. It’s turning into a very dense, sort of a 24-hour-a-day neighborhood instead of the old 9-to-5 neighborhood that we used to be familiar with.”
2019 survey by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a nonprofit development corporation, more than 14,000 residential units have been added to the neighborhood since 2014, and residents are seeking out more retail and restaurant options, along with schools and family-friendly activities.
Gage & Tollner, a Fulton Street institution for decades. Mr. Frizell and his partners were planning to open the restaurant in March 2020; the pandemic put those plans on hold, but it finally opened in April and has since become a fixture for area residents.