Photo by Joe Mazzola

Photo by Conrad Doucette

There's been a lot of chatter over the years about what's been going on behind the shuttered doors of Long Island Restaurant—the Atlantic Avenue spot with its iconic neon signs, charming time warp feel, and a history that includes a blood feud. Before getting to the impending reopening, let's start with the latter. In 2006, the NY Times retold the story of a quarrel between the family behind both Long Island Restaurant and Montero's (still housed down the street). The former was run by Emma Sullivan:

"These two places are not related just by longevity or atmosphere, they are related by blood: Emma's brother was Joseph Montero, who ran the bar that bears his name until he retired to Spain in the late 1990's. He died soon after. Her sister-in-law, Pilar Montero, Joseph's widow, runs it still during the days, and spends much of her time sitting at her spot near the wall and chatting with customers.

It's a long story, the story of Montero's and the Long Island Restaurant, a story of two stalwarts who have remained resolutely real amid all the pretense. It's also a story of family ties that do not quite bind—not a feud but, rather, decades-old cases of mutual ambivalence. Some say the sisters-in-law haven't spoken for 50 years. There seems to be some bad blood about a grocery store on State Street that closed years ago, killed off by an uninvited highway."

You'll want to read the entire long story—but in the end, Long Island Restaurant quietly closed its doors in 2007. When it reopens—presumably this year—it will have shed the family fued, and most likely it will become a tribute to the former establishment in name and exterior only. After all, you can never go home again, and the area has started to attract a different crowd (one that enjoys craft cocktails down the street at Henry Public). It's also worth noting that one of the rumored new owners is Toby Cecchini, the bartender "often credited as the creator of the popular cosmopolitan cocktail."

Promisingly, however, when Craigslist ads went up earlier this year, there was a nod to simplicity: "We are restoring the Long Island Bar, an iconic corner spot in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Operated by one family since the 1950s, the Long Island Bar is a neighborhood landmark." On top of a waitstaff, they were also seeking a chef who could create an uncomplicated menu that wasn't "showy."

While the neon lights came back on earlier this month, this weekend passerby Conrad Doucette noticed the lights on inside the bar, which was hosting "a private party." We'll be sure to update when more solid details on an official reopening are unveiled.