A Brooklyn restaurateur has had to apologize to local residents — repeatedly — after advertising her new establishment as a former corner store with a checkered past, complete with alleged “bullet holes” in the walls.
Becca Brennan originally opened her Summerhill sandwich shop in June, in the rapidly gentrifying Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. But Brennan recently became the target of the community’s backlash after issuing a PR email explaining how the eatery inhabited “a long-vacant corner bodega (with a rumored backroom illegal gun shop to boot).”
That same PR email proudly touted a “bullet-hole-ridden wall” as being authentic, even though that claim could not be substantiated, according to Eater New York.Display nothing; This is on Publish with no configured Image
Her claim that the bodega was a front for an illicit gun dealership has also been called into question, as she got that information from a one-off comment posted to a Brooklyn message board, Gothamist later discovered.
“I deeply apologize for any offence that my recent comments may have caused,” said Brennan, a former tax attorney from Toronto, in a statement ontained by Fox News. “I did not intend to be insensitive to anyone in the neighborhood, and I am sorry that my words have caused pain. I made light of serious issues and that was wrong.”
A statement also appeared on the official Summerhill Instagram page, in which the writer (presumably Brennan) claimed she has “taken time to rethink how I want to engage and be a part of this community.”Display nothing; This is on Publish with no configured Image
On Saturday, however, around 100 locals organized a protest outside of Summerhill, at times chanting “Bye, Becky!” and admonishing the owner for what they believed to be her insensitive marketing ploys and assumptions about the neighborhood.
“That’s not what the neighborhood needs,” said local resident Ayanna Prescott, in a statement obtained by New York Daily News. “The neighborhood needs child care. It needs schools. “And a ‘boozy sandwich shop’ with fake bullet holes is totally disconnected.”
The same day as the protest, The Root reports that Brennan issued a second apology, in which Brennan wrote that she had “work to do to continue healing relationships with my neighbors.”
The backlash over Summerhill's image has since made its way to Yelp, where the restaurant currently holds a two-star rating.
“There's no space for $14 crappy BLT sandwich's [sic] in Brooklyn and certainly not when the owner has the attitude that she does about the neighborhood,” wrote one reviewer.
“Speaking as a native of Crown Heights — who has lived through years of volatile summers, drive-by shootings, random acts of violence and kidnappings — you are exactly the type of parasite we fear is increasingly moving into our neighborhood,” wrote another.
A representative for Summerhill was not immediately available for comment.