Like a cigar, sometimes a bullet hole is just a bullet hole. Unfortunately for Becca Brennan — a New York City restaurateur from Canada — there are times when a bullet hole is a sign of stereotyping and gentrification. But first, the back story . . .

The 31-year-old Canadian wanted to own her own restaurant. She immigrated to the Big Apple to realize that dream. It’s a tremendously competitive field, what with half of Top Chef runner-ups trying to open a sandwich shops. Or something.

Ms. Brennan needed a hook. Something to set her eatery apart.

Her choice: emphasize her building’s reputed past as a black market gangland gun shop. She wrote a tongue-in-cheek press release announcing the opening of Summerhill, emphasizing the eaterie’s gangsta connections. The press release states:

Brennan was a corporate tax attorney with daydreams of opening a boozy sandwich shop until she discovered the perfect piece of real estate around the corner from her Crown Heights apartment: a long-vacant corner bodega (with a rumored backroom illegal gun shop to boot)….

[She] proceeded to spend over a year painstakingly gut-renovating the space with an uncompromising vision:” a surf-club vibe with a large concrete horseshoe bar, massive accordion windows, and cheekily wallpapered bathrooms. (Yes, that bullet hole-ridden wall was originally there and yes, we’re keeping it.)

We don’t know much about Crown Heights; New York City doesn’t welcome our kind. But this sounds innocuous enough. Ms. Brennan needed a hook and saved on patching-up the rest room. Win/win.

Then again, we’re just a Louisiana-born, Pennsylvania-raised Detroiter descended from Ukrainian steelworkers and Mexican housekeepers. What do we know about racism, class, or stereotyping?

Not much, judging from the reaction of Crown Heights residents.

Some of them took to the streets, claiming that the bullet holes represented gentrification, racism, hatred and a failure of the Canadian immigrant to exercise her “duty” to assimilate into the neighborhood’s dominant culture. (As far as we know, no Crown Heights culture has taken responsibility for gangland shootouts.)

Ms. Brennan also advertised the availability of Forty Ounce Rose,a wine in a bottle designed to mimic the famous Colt 45. Served in a déclassé paper bag at the gastropub, for effect. That may have horrified the locals almost as much as the bullet holes.

As far as wine etiquette goes, we believe that use of a paper bag is an appropriate way for an imbiber to avoid the embarrassment attendant with drinking a rosé. But we’d also like to note that we can walk to a party store five blocks from our home and buy a six-pack of the stuff for the going rate of one drink at NYC gastropub prices.

Anyway, Summerhill stayed open during the protests during which, we understand, racist slogans were chanted by the protesters against Ms. Brennan (or maybe they were just making fun of her name).

The beleaguered owner has since apologized for her thoughtcrime. Presumably all will be well going forward.

We’re glad that the protests didn’t turn into a defensive gun use — or worse, a “should have been a defensive gun use” — for the Canadian lady, as we understand that Crown Heights has a history of rioting and gang violence

The biggest disappointment, though? It turns out that there never really was an illicit gun store on the property. The so-called bullet holes were probably just cosmetic damage from construction.

I guess the protesters weren’t the only ones shooting blanks.

39 Responses to New York City Summerhill Restaurant Protest: Bullet Holes Are Racist!

  1. I like this idea! I think we should try a pilot program in Berkley. Next time a little ‘protest’ gets out of control they should leave all the burning trash untended, leave all the damage unrepaired, as well as leaving all the broken glass on the streets as a living testament to The Struggle for Equality™. That’ll teach all us evil right wing a-holes a thing or two.

  2. Ugh.

    Failure to assimilate to the dominate culture? Seems that’s a one-way street with the social justice crowd. Suggest making English the official language of the US and watch how quick panties wad-up

    The only thing more disgusting is that people feel the need or pressure to apologize for doing nothing wrong.

    • I thought a similar thing: Move to a new neighborhood and you must assimilate (resistance is futile!) but the same exact people who say that would be up in arms (metaphorical arms, of course. They are from New York after all) if immigrants were required to take an English language class.

      • Take an English class. Just like millions of successful, law-abiding, proudly American immigrants did in times past.

      • “The social justice movement is beyond parody.”

        And the beautiful part is, they are utterly oblivious as to how stupid they look.

        Just wait until corporate America’s HR departments get tired of putting up with their crap…

  3. Funny how the same people who are insisting this Canadian woman must “assimilate” into the culture of her new home would stone you to death for daring to suggest that a Latin American, Asian, or Middle Eastern immigrant should learn English when they come here.

    • Yup, bad choice of words, calling for assimilation is a losing tack, especially for SJWs (please read as “ess-jay-dubs”). They could have said she was insensitive.

  4. Crown Heights is still a very bad neighborhood not too far from some heavily gentrified neighborhoods. I left NYC decades ago but was bad, is bad. Kudos to this entrepreneur for having the creativity and cojones (this is a compliment, not a “sexist insult”) to try this. And seriously, I hope neither she nor a customer gets shot for the effort.

  5. Back in the day, someone in Chicago bought the wall that Al Capone had all them rival gangsters shot up against. The dude who bought it put it in his bars men’s bathroom, and a piece of plexy glass over it, bulls eyes over each bullet hole, and a piss trough underneath, so that patrons could come in and test the aim of their johnsons against that of the gangsters.

    • You mean the gangsters shot down by police on Capone’s payroll, right? Cuz gangsters wouldn’t just saunter unarmed down into a basement with cops they’d never seen before (or known enemy gangsters wearing police uniforms)

      • Supposedly they were down there when the ‘cops’ raided the place and the gangsters wearing the uniform were not known as they were brought in specifically for the hit.

        • Yeah he’s one of those trolls that blames the cops for everything. Remember that meteor that hit Russia a few years back? It was out of control cops. ISIS? Started by the cops. Hurricane Katrina? Was actually built by cops in their underwater super fortress of doom out in the Atlantic, then they sent it ashore to kill thousand of innocent blacks people, for no reason other than they could!!!

    • Currently the wall is on display at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. I saw it there a couple years ago.

  6. Funny. Having bought foteys from places that had been shot up I think it’s cute, but a little thin. Not that cohesive or interesting of a theme, unless you’re cloistered AF. Which some trustifarians might be.

    But, if you’re going in there for some of that sweet hipster money, you got to be prepared to jump through hoops and dance for your patrons. I’m not surprised a little goofball humor did nothing but enrage them.

    • “unless you’re cloistered AF” There’s your sign. This gal & her clientele see crime & poverty as interesting diversions, not as cold hard reality (in both the bad and good ways, of which there is of course both among the downtrodden, but still plenty enough bad for any intelligent person to treat it respectfully & generally avoid if possible)

  7. I suspect the majority of Crown Heights residents were too busy making a living to take time off for protests. The troublemakers tend to be those who have ruined their own lives, are angry about their dismal prospects, and blame everyone but themselves.

    • Which I understand to be a rather significant proportion of the Crown Heights population, seeing as it’s still pretty crime ridden & beat up, and sustains a large rabble of ignorant losers who rant at outsiders trying to make something (stupid) of the place

  8. the bullet holes represented gentrification

    Wait, run that by me again? I guess Chicago’s Englewood, Austin, and Garfield Park neighborhoods must be gentrified as f*ck.

    • I think it was the fact they were being kept as a point of pride/intrigue that bothered these losers, as opposed to being left unrepaired out of laziness despite crushing shame. If only some addled rich white woman would give them top dollar for their dump-house tenement they’d be happy as clams.

  9. Once upon a time there was a restaurant in toney Rockville, MD named “G.D. Graffiti’s” which had a 20’s gangster theme. They had an incredible salad bar and some of the best prime rib I’ve ever had to kick up my cholesterol count. Keeping with their theme, they had period-dressed young ladies circulating through the place as cigarette and wine girls (with wine in old glass oil bottles) for a bit of period verisimilitude. My then wife and in-laws had been seated at a table which was in the full glare of the sun and after a bit the sport coat I was wearing made me uncomfortably warm, so took it off and hung it on the back of my chair before summoning the wine girl to our table. Evidently, the M1911A1 in the shoulder holster I was wearing was a bit too much for her as she summoned the manager before approaching our table. Upon presentation of my badge and ID card, all was well and we dined to repletion.

    • Seems to me like a 1911 in a shoulder holster is exactly the kind of accessory for a 1920s gangster themed restaurant, you should have gotten a discount.

      • Yeah, I had to re-read Mike’s comment a few times to make sure I had the obvious disconnect right.
        “OMG!! There’s a guy with a ganster-looking gun in our gangster-themed restaurant! OMG!”

  10. Damn what’s wrong with these NY pukes? Just a hook for a trendy nightspot. Bizarre is an understatement?

  11. “…promote co-existence with grey wolves and other predators…”. There is a reason whatever PETA is smoking is illegal. Especially if it alters your perceptions to this degree.

    Or send them to Australia where just about everything here can kill you, except for some of the sheep. We have NINE of 10 of the world’s most venemous snakes. The most poisonous spiders, cute octopi in Sydney beach pools (the blue ringed octopus), stone fish (poisonous spine), and box jellyfish whose sting is like having red hot barbed wire dragged through your skin. Kangaroos can disembowel you with their hind claws. Feral pigs can grow to several hundred kilos and are a danger to most livestock. Fun place!

    • You’d feel right at home in Georgia. There are six different poison snakes (Eastern Rattlesnake, cottonmouth, coral snake, copperhead, timber rattlers, and pygmy rattlesnake). Plus alligators, boa constrictors, scorpions, black widow spiders, bears, and feral hogs that have weighed in at as much as 800 pounds (with claims higher than that). Much safer than Australia.

  12. Hmmm.. I live in nyc and never heard of this place. Must check it out. What I find weird is how I just heard of this on ttag rather than in nyc. I guess there is just too much different shit happening here constantly that its just a blip in the new york post and the daily news sleaze rag.

  13. Sounds like the young entrepreneur left her relatively protected life in Canada and headed for the Big Apple to set up her restaurant in a crime-themed place in a rough slum area with a major case of naivity. The fact that she lived near the slum tells me she could not afford the higher rents in respectable neighborhoods (and rents are HIGH in NYC – my daughter and her husband used to pay $4k/mo in mid-town Manhattan). As to the words about racial insensitivity that were spoken against her by protesters, my guess is that the protesters were not from the slum, or the slum dwellers were taught those words and instigated to protest by their local friendly community organizer – I’m confident that the people on the street couldn’t have cared less. And then the bullet holes turned out to be phony – too much!

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