On the outside, it would seem that the restaurant space at 905 Lorimer Street is cursed. The corner lot seems like prime real estate, across the street from McCarren Park. So, why haven’t the past few restaurants at 905 Lorimer succeeded?

On the opposite corner, local mainstay Five Leaves has served the neighborhood for 15 years. One theory is that Five Leaves would fill up and subsequently, send customers across the street to 905 Lorimer, but with the new outdoor dining setup at Five Leaves, it does not fill up as quickly, and thus, there are no superfluous customers for 905 Lorimer.

Years ago, before the last three unsuccessful restaurants, 905 Lorimer was home to Lokal, a casual Mediterranean bistro. After Lokal closed, the space got spruced up and, in 2016, became French bistro, Sauvage, the sister restaurant of Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere. 

In 2019, both Sauvage and Maison Premiere filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after racking up approximately $5.2 million in debt, as Greenpointers and Eater previously reported. The restaurants said that they filed for bankruptcy to settle a legal matter, but didn’t elaborate on what the legal matter was.

What was known through court documents was that both restaurants owed money to creditors and suppliers. Sauvage owed nearly $2 million to New Jersey’s Provident Bank.


Both restaurants stayed open after filing for Chapter 11, but then the pandemic hit. Maison Premiere was able to reopen and flourish after the initial pandemic shutdown, but Sauvage closed permanently in 2020.

Following the closure of Sauvage, Xilonen, a vegan Mexican restaurant from the owners of Michelin-starred Oxomoco, took over the space. Despite the success of Oxomoco, Xilonen closed after just a year.

Xilonen’s permanent closure came after a temporary two-month hiatus due to the second wave of the pandemic. Eater reported that Xilonen’s owner Justin Bazdarich would not be reopening the restaurant due to factors outside his control, including operating restrictions on restaurants caused by the pandemic.

The teams behind Sauvage and Xilonen did not respond to Greenpointers’ request for comment.

The interior of 905 Lorimer when it was Cool World. Photo: Green River Project

Most recently, Cool World inhabited the lot at 905 Lorimer, but as Greenpointers recently reported, it, too, closed after only a year, creating an undeniable pattern.

Greenpointers asked Cool World’s co-owner Julian Brizzi if he believes the failures of the restaurants at 905 Lorimer are tied to the location. Interestingly, he said no.

“We were not far off from it making sense, but it didn’t,” Brizzi said. “The branding and concept was ambitious, and not the safest choice…. But, it was not an absolute calamity. It was busy on Friday and Saturday.”

“Chef Q is enormously talented,” Brizzi boasted of Cool World’s Executive Chef, Quang Nguyen. “His food we were extremely proud of.”

Brizzi told Greenpointers that the space at 905 Lorimer is deceivingly small with more than half of the seats outside, but he did not want to criticize the size or space, not does he blame it for the restaurant’s failure. 

Brizzi said that if he and his team had we done something “down the middle,” and had “less hubris walking in,” Cool World might still be open. “We are very sorry to our staff, investors, vendors and guests,” Brizzi added. 

On a positive note, Brizzi told Greenpointers that he is exploring the possibility of a new and different concept at 905 Lorimer, making it even clearer that he does not believe the space is cursed. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Cool World was awful – bad service, mediocre food, small portions, high prices…this is why it failed. Bring back Xilonen! That food was amazing and it had a take out window for anyone who didn’t want to sit down and wait.

  2. Xilonen was my favorite restaurant in Greenpoint (and my favorite in that space for the 18 years I’ve lived here) and I miss it every time I pass by!

  3. Excellent historical reporting for a small local electronic newspaper.

    If there is a Pulitzer Prize for something like this you and Greenpointers should win it.

  4. I once saw a rat the size of a small dog run wildly through Lokal on a busy summer night. Quite a crowd had gathered because this rat was absolutely enormous, and some guys in a car had been chasing it up Lorimer Street trying to catch it with a trash can? I’ve always felt there was more to the story.

    And yes, that spot is definitely cursed.

  5. Xilonen was fantastic! My wife and I went the first week and were blown away. The timing of that covid spike was unfortunate; that’s the only reason that makes sense why it didn’t last. Never checked out Cool World because we saw the prices on the menu posted outside. Whew!

  6. The rent must be real high based on the prices charged by the exrestaurants there. Maybe a more relatable menu with realistic prices can survive.

  7. guys… you are missing the most obvious piece of this “puzzle “ which is the rent. ask any industry insider how much rent should be as a percentage of sales and you will quickly realize it doesnt work for most restaurants

  8. I was so disappointed when cool world closed – the food, concept and branding were all super well done and probably ahead of thier time – I just wish I’d known they were closing in advance so could’ve enjoyed that phenomenal wedge salad one last time…

    Xilonen wasn’t really my taste in food, concept or (over)branding

  9. Lokal was so weird, ugly (that sign, those weird glass windows!) and uneven that it was celebrated when it finally bit the dust. How it survived as long as it did was the great mystery. What followed was a concept that belonged in Hudson Yards. Too fancy for the neighborhood vibe at the time. Five Leaves opened when the neighborhood was still less discovered and never tried too hard yet always excellent. The neighborhood vibe has changed so much now I don’t know what works. I got so disgusted, I moved to Austin.

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