After 25 years in business, the homey red sauce Italian restaurant Aunt Suzie's is going to the great cannoli in the sky. The owner, Irene LoRe, posted an open letter on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District website announcing her decision to call it quits on January 1st. LoRe, who is also the executive director of the Fifth Avenue BID, opened Aunt Suzie's when Fifth Avenue was a very different (i.e. seedy) scene, and the closure marks the end of an era.
“We’ve been here 25 years, but the restaurant business has changed dramatically," LoRe tells the Park Slope Patch. "It is extremely hard to do business in New York City, it’s time to go. It’s time for younger people with stronger constitutions to step up shop. I’m retiring, now I will only have one full-time job." As an example of her latest hassle, LoRe explained that she had to cough up $250 for a permit to have candles in Aunt Suzie's—which LoRe named after her mother. No, it's not an incest thing; everyone just called her mother "Aunt Suzie."
Aunt Suzie's cuisine isn't on the same plane as some other restaurants like Al Di La that have followed in its footsteps, but it's beloved for its friendly staff, unassuming atmosphere, and reasonably priced, perfectly decent Italian-American fare. (The artichoke dip is particularly delicious.) It's unclear what will open up at the location; it appears that LoRe owns the building, but our phone calls to the restaurant this afternoon have so far gone unanswered. If you want to swing by to pay your respects, you still have a couple of months: you'll find Aunt Suzie's at 247 Fifth Avenue, between Carroll Street and Garfield Place.