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New York Times | Entrepeneur | Time Out

May 2000

O.K., so Brooklyn is not exactly the land of milk and honey. Still, there is plenty of other yummy stuff on the menu, so much that it is getting hard to keep track of it all. But don't despair. There is a Web site dedicated solely to monitoring, TASTE OF BROOKLYN.COM rating and sometimes ranting about http://www.tasetofbrooklyn.com the mushrooming restaurant scene in Brooklyn, U.S.A "The scene just exploded," said Lenny Karle-Zenith, who, with his wife, Anne, founded the Web site, Taste of Brooklyn, last year. "Nobody really expected it." Why such gastronomic growth? "Like everything else in Manhattan, rents were out of control they said. It was much cheaper to open new places in Brooklyn." He added, "Many people were getting tired of the Manhattan food grind. And some restaurateurs tired of it, too. They saw Brooklyn a prime market, especially the area around Smith Street, with all the young professionals moving into Carroll Gardens." The couple moved to Carroll Gardens five years ago, "when there was nothing but a pizza joint," Mr. Karle-Zenith said. "But we're real foodies, so we began searching out little places in Brooklyn." The couple first encountered Patois, a top-rated bistro in Carroll Gardens. They soon found more culinary gems amid the boroughs brownstones, and when more restaurants like Victory Kitchen began opening "we decided It was time to create a directory and put It online," Mr. Karle-Zenith said. WHAT YOU SEE The site is well organized and easy to navigate. But Brooklyn is a very big place. So far, the site covers only Epicurean hot spots in Brownstone Brooklyn Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Fort Greene. Bay Ridge, WIlliamsburg and other neighborhoods will be added soon. Sections include "Find a Restaurant," which allow searching by neighborhood, cuisine or price; "Main Ingredient," describing one dish that is fairly Brooklynesque (this month, pasta) and providing local recipes;."Taster's Choice, with reviews written by neighbors called "taste buds," and "What's Cooking," almost daily updates on Brooklyn openings, closings, promotions, wine tastings and more. There is also a regular feature article (for example, an in-depth look at rice balls), a "Tastemaker" interview with a local chef or restaurant owner, a "Wine Lady" column and one called "Percy Speaks," a highly opinionated review of life, politics and eating out in Brooklyn, written by the Karle-Zenith downstairs neighbor. LINKS To several sites covering local food, art, culture and economic development. . . WHAT YOU GET A cross-referenced, constantly updated culinary excursion through the place that Ed Norton, of "Honeymooners" fame, once called the garden spot of the world." DAVID KIRBY

August 2000

Internet restaurant guides. Start-up entrepreneurs will probably have to do these guides locally. Anne Karle-Zenith of Brooklyn decided to create a local restaurant guide on the Internet. Karle-Zenith, and her husband Lenny Karle- Zenith, took $10,000 of savings and launched tasteofbrooklyn.com last October. Karle-Zenith doesn't consider the large online and print dining guides direct competition, because her site focuses exclusively on Brooklyn and its various neighborhoods and is more comprehensive. She admits, however, that "it's difficult to make money from advertising on a content-driven site. You have to have something that goes along with your site that has the potential to generate revenue. She' s currently working on a plan to turn tasteotbrooklyn.com into a marketplace guide, complete with per-sonal Web pages for local businesses. These businesses are only the first course in a wide-open market. So who wants to be a restaurateur?

December 1999