Vicente's Mexican + Hookah (676 Franklin next to Indian restaurant) is going, going.... — Brooklynian

Vicente's Mexican + Hookah (676 Franklin next to Indian restaurant) is going, going....

Dec 7

Longtime readers may recall that this place was once to become a bar run by the Indian Restaurant next door, but that never came to fruition.

Now, the space has presumably changed hands and is to become a Mexican Restaurant with Hookah pipes.


676 Franklin Avenue

Note: My understanding is that when one allows Hookah smoking, one can not also serve alcohol. So, it should be interesting to see how this place does in light of all of the other Mexican places in western Crown Heights. Vicente's will make six (6!):

1. Chavella's

2. Gueros

3. The soon-to-open burrito place across from Bob and Betty's (formerly Jam Rock)

4. The soon-to-open location of Yummy Taco on Washington (blick!)

5. Los Muertos on Washington

6. Vicente's


  • wasnt there one opening on nostrand too? did i just make that up?

  • Good memory!

    Yes, Clayfilms broke that news:

    So, that is


    including the one coming to 814 Nostrand, by Lula Bagel.

  • Mexican food with no booze, and acrid fruity smoke?! Im predicting a quick fail, unless this is a joke. Or these guys quickly do some research and realize their impending mistake. Is there a hookah place anywhere that does very well?

  • I have similar fears.

    Readers may remember that a prior attempt at this location, Bollywood Bar, failed before it even opened.

    Personally, I am seeing far more new/expectant mothers on Franklin Avenue than I am seeing single, hookah-smoking- Mexican-food-eating males.

    But the proprietors are welcome to create a business that caters to a group I perceive as shrinking if they choose.

  • I might be missing something, and I know it's Prospect Heigths, but Zaytoons on Vanderbilt serves both hookah and booze. No liquor, but they have beer and wine.

  • Interesting about Bombay Bar, the owner told me he couldnt open the bar b/c of the church across the street, and he didnt know the rules when he signed the lease.

    Anyhow, curious as to who hookah smokers are since even at zaytoons I didnt see anyone smoking (maybe an off day). Doesnt sound like a hipster thing. Black males maybe? Either way, when I think of hookahs, I think of...oh yeah....booze. cigars&scotch. cigarettes&beer. etc.

  • Small correction: it's Vicente's (only one "n").

    Attached files image image
  • Thanks, I've fixed it!

    [readers, I previously spelled it as Vincente's]

  • New Vicente's sign.Vicente's new sign
  • Is this place owned by the same owners as Bombay? I know it's been said before on this thread, but the idea of eating Mexican food with hookah smoke and no booze makes me a bit ill. I wonder if we could create a sort of new business preemptive death watch list thread. Is that mean?
  • edited June 2014
    Yes, I now believe that this entity is owned by the Bombay folks.

    1. They were going to open up a bar there, but it didn't happen:

    2. The awning for both of them appears to be one piece.

    3. The SLA application for the previous entity (Bombay Bar) is still pending

    The names of the applicants can be viewed on the above link.

    Above, I speculated that the place had changed hands. This was likely because I found it improbable that the owners of an indian restaurant would open a mexican/hookah place.Brooklyn, you never let me down. I see no reason they can't make "authentic mexican food and hookah".
  • I went inside Bombay Masala to ask if Vicente's had an opening date (or estimate of one). The managers didn't appear to speak English very well, but after a few attempts to explain my question they got the gist of it and then just referred me to the "Coming Soon" sign. I root for all local businesses, but as a native Texan (who lived in Mexico for awhile) I'm not expecting this to be some of the better Mexican food I've had. I hope to be proven wrong. Or at least something close to that.
  • edited May 2014
    They lost a lot of money as a result of serious errors last time:

    I do hope they have learned their lessons.
  • edited June 2014
    I just wish to point that it is now May.

    ....not only have 3 months gone by, but a lot of other Mexican places will soon open and have already opened.

    I recently counted 11 places in the area:

    Meanwhile, I have yet to meet someone who wants to consume Mexican food while smoking hookah, AND I am pretty sure DOH does not allow this combination. 

    As a result, I am going to give any prospective investors in this business my strongest advice: Do Not Do It.

  • One of the owners said that they partnered with a guy (mexican i believe) who had created one of these concepts somewhere else.  Hopefully he's the one who's actually managing the menu and food, and the bombay masala guys are passive investors.  

    This does exist, in the form of La Canela restuaruant in Astoria.

    Nonetheless, I love my foods without the stank of acrid fruity smoke.  I suspect the hookah will be the main draw, given the other food options nearby.
  • edited May 2014
    I agree.

    ...and although I love looking at people with odd preferences as much as the next guy, I feel no need to visit the one in Astoria to see who these strange Mexican eating - Hookah smoking people are.

    I must admit that it amazes me that these folks exist to the degree that someone accommodates them and that they operate within local laws.   

    However, I remain convinced that they are a small, marginalized segment of the overall population.     

    As a result of how long the Vicente storefront has now been unproductive, I suspect that the operators must own (as opposed to rent) both storefronts. 
  • edited May 2014
    At some point during the last week or so, they requested a future kitchen inspection from DOH:

    ...this basically means that they believe their kitchen will be ready before DOH gets its act together to come and inspect it.
  • edited June 2014
    Grand opening Monday, June 16.  The hookahs will be tobacco-free.

  • Other than tobacco or weed, what does one use a hookah for?
  • edited March 2015
    Apparently there are non-tobacco herbal shishas for hookahs. This link describes such things. Look below the tobacco products:

    This does answer my question re: "how is this going to be legal?"

    ...However, I still have never met someone who occupies this part of the Venn Diagram.

  • edited June 2014
    Other than tobacco or weed, what does one use a hookah for?
    The owner simply said it will be "flavors."  He seemed disappointed tobacco won't be allowed, but he said he's been told "flavors" are OK.
  • edited June 2014
    The owner simply said it will be "flavors."  He seemed disappointed tobacco won't be allowed, but he said he's been told "flavors" are OK.
    Does anyone occupying this space look up laws?  First the backyard deck that never got approval and now this guy (same guy?) who even thought for a second that tobacco would be ok?  
  • edited June 2014
    I believe this clip may say it best:

  • Does anyone occupying this space look up laws?  First the backyard deck that never got approval and now this guy (same guy?) who even thought for a second that tobacco would be ok?  
    So that I'm fair to the guy, I don't know if he was disappointed after having asked and been denied... or if he was well aware of this and simply lamenting that it isn't allowed.

  • I'd like to think I would have researched it before I spent putting up a sign on the front of my business that stated "Mexican Food and Hookah"

    The sign now declares something that is barely true.
  • Apparently Mexican and hookah isn't a unique combination:  
  • edited March 2015
    Do they "get" to smoke real tobacco hookah in Astoria?
  • edited June 2014
    Grand Opening today, June 16. People were seen eating, sans hookah


    One of 12 Mexican influenced restaurants nearby:
  • edited June 2014
    I know one of the proprietors, who is a seasoned restaurant manager and really knows his stuff.  I frequented the Mexican restaurant he managed (and more or less ran, as far as I could tell) in Prospect Heights.  I have't been to Vicente's yet, but I can't wait to go!
  • Is he basically leasing the space from the folks who run the Indian Restaurant?

    Did he have anything to do with the idea that:

    Mexican food + hookah = good idea. ?
  • Ate from there twice (once inside, once delivery) this weekend, and visited twice...friday and saturday for world cup.   

    The food is actually quite good and reasonably priced. But man, it really feels like they want the food to be a secondary part of the concept which is a shame. 

    I say this because on Saturday when I went in to catch a cup game, there was a dj with music blasting, I mean you could barely hear the waitress.  Guys in front were smoking some nasty strawberry stuff.   Very disappointing that a Mexican joint would have the volume off for a soccer game, and rap music on blast.  It was intolerable, I quickly finished my beer, had my food wrapped up, and took it home to watch the 2nd half. I wonder if they figure it'll be too hard to compete with the other Mex places around on food alone, and hope that smoking will be the draw.  Really too bad, I'd be a regular here for the food, but the music / smoke would keep me away.

  • Any interesting beer or just basic Mexican fare? 
  • Had lunch there a few days ago. Nothing special but not bad either... pretty typical Mexican food restaurant. Which is better than I suspected given its Indian ownership and hookah bar description.

    I actually wonder how often the hookahs will be used. They have nice TVs, decent food, and a bar. It should be a place to sit and watch a game over tacos and beer. The hookahs really aren't necessary.
  • Just a suggestion to whoever opens a new restaurant in the area, MIDDLE EASTERN.  Fez opened and closed and was a bit of a disappointment. Other than hiking over to Vanderbilt I haven't found a decent Mediterranean/M.E. restaurant in the area. Would love some good Zaatar bread, lentil soup, shepherd's salad etc. 

    Just a suggestion. 
  • A Greek place is in the works
  • OMG GREEK!!!!!!!
  • edited March 2015
  • edited June 2014
    I guess mediterranean is an ok backup to good middle eastern, but by no means a replacement.
      i agree though, totally wanted middle east food, and Fez disappointed.
  • I think Vicente's best move would be to remove all references to hookah on its advertising and awning.

    It could become the local bland, somewhat cheesy mexican place

    ... our version of Burrito Bar (in Prospect Heights, on Flatbush)
  • edited July 2014
    Today, Ms Whynot and I ate at Vincente's.

    11 very local places eaten at!

    There were hookahs on display, but not in use. It is not operated by the folks who run the Indian place next door.

    The food was standard Mexican fare. A little bland. Good air conditioning.

    Nostrand and Lincoln is next.
  • I want to edit their menu.
  • edited March 2015
    Were you an English major?

    After an intial period of being "checked out" by locals who had not tried it yet, I am seeing this place struggle.

    Many tables are empty during WEEKEND dinner hours, it doesn't seem to be making up for that via a busy delivery business, and I am only seeing a few stools occupied at the bar.

    Is this me being a pessimist, or are other people seeing similar things?

    Note: I want them to succeed.
  • I was not an English major.  :)  The place is contradictory from the beginning.  The front of the menu states it's Autentica Comida Mexicana, but the menu items don't feel terribly authentic Mexican.  So I'm left wondering if they don't know what authentic Mexican food is or they think no one else does.  Either way it doesn't put them in a good light.

    If you go by the Tex-Mex/American food items nothing looks particular inventive.  Considering this lack of creativity the prices are far too high.  It seems like they didn't consider their proximity to Chavelas and Gueros.  More authentic is covered by the former and the in the hand tacos by the latter.  Tex/Mex can run the risk of making all the food sound the same.  Protein, rice, lettuce, tomato, onions, cilantro.  If you're not going to make it interesting, make it cheaper and go with that.  American/Mexican seems like a good idea, but they need to lower prices on appetizers and soups for example.  

    When items are creative they seem to be in really weird, unappetizing ways.  Take the Mole Poblano.  "Pueba (sic) style Mole with Chicken in a light sweet red sauce, Made with Mixed Peppers, Sesame Seeds, Raisins, and Almonds."  Why is a mole sauce light, sweet, and red?  Calling the dish Mole Poblano would indicate the main ingredient is poblano peppers, but the description includes chicken.  I'm not a Spanish speaker, but it seems like the title should instead be Chicken Mole with Poblanos, except there is no specific mention of poblanos in the dish, just mixed peppers.  And perhaps most importantly, what are sesame seeds doing in "authentic" mexican food?  

    I haven't even tried the food.  If they're not clear on the important part of their meals and what is in them I'm not going to bother.  Half the nouns are in English, half in Spanish, most of the nouns are capitalized and others later on aren't at all.  I find it all very distracting.  

    And yeah, I don't ever see people in there.  Somehow they need to figure out who they are and clean up the menu.  The bottled beers are pleasantly affordable for the neighborhood, but they're not enough to pull in customers.  
  • The first mental images of the place are hookah smoke and Indian food.  That's a really bad way to sell Mexican food.  They might have a good delivery business if the food is good, but who is the target market for hanging out at an Indian/hookah-Mexican food restaurant/bar?  
  • I walk by the place every day and it seems dark, sketchy, and the music is too loud. It reminds me of places I'd see under the 7 Train on Roosevelt Ave in Queens. At least if this were on Roosevelt I'd know the food would be legit. That said, if it's attracting a significant clientele, then I'm all for it since a thriving business is a good thing for Franklin Ave regardless of whether I personally want to frequent it.
  • We ordered (delivery) here shortly after it opened and didn't like it. The food was lackluster. My boxed Goya comes out better than their rice. We haven't tried since.
  • edited March 2015
    As expected, Vicente's Mexican Hookah is not long for this world.

    An entity is presently talking with the landlord about renting the space it occupies.

    ...presumably Vicente will close if the deal is sealed.

    But fear not, if you are worried about only having about a dozen mexican places after this closes, another Mexican place is in the process of opening:
  • I'm not surprised a group of friends and I wanted to go get some nachos as well as smoke some hookah a couple weekends ago. We tried calling a couple times and couldn't get anyone to answer.
  • edited March 2015
    @newguy88 -
    I am surprised to learn that you and your friends enjoy nachos and hookah.

    ...but, like the existence of Bigfoot, I remain suspicious.

    Have you and your friends ever been captured eating nachos and smoking hookah in a photo that is not grainy, and not taken from 1000 yards?
  • But fear not, if you are worried about only having about a dozen mexican places after this closes, another Mexican place is in the process of opening: 
    And if you are worried about not having a place for hookah, Maxwell's on Kingston has a sign saying it -- and a full Spanish-American menu (Panamanian, not Mexican) -- are coming soon.
  • @whynot_31 A picture of our last group hang out. We are very very good at hiding from cameras in out of focus areas. image
  • edited March 2015
    Let me guess, the guy who took this photo is a hunter.

    And he and his dog had been tracking an animal's scent for 3 miles when they suddenly saw you guys in the distance and took this photo.

    He has had a few run ins with the law, including 3 DWI's, but other people in town (including the most trusted guy in town, the one who runs the hardware store) swear they have seen the same thing.

  • I noticed a few days ago the "Hookah" had been deleted from the front awning.

    I guess Franklin Avenue just isn't yet ready for the Mexican food + hookah concept.
  • edited March 2015
    Franklin Avenue might be ready, but those who frequent Franklin Avenue are not.
  • edited April 2015
    Vicente's will reportedly continue to exist in the short term.

    The entity that was in talks with its landlord, was also in talks with the guy who runs Docklands. He choose Docklands.
  • Not sure any neighborhood anywhere is craving mexican + hookah.  Maybe moroccan/hookah.  Now that they lost the hookah and will try to compete on food/drink alone with the rest of the mex places around, it can only be a faster decline without Chef Ramsey coming in to overhaul it.
  • edited August 2015
    The last few times I have walked by this place, it has been closed during the evening hours.

    This makes me believe we are seeing the some of the final circles around the drain.
  • Really too bad.  The partners from the Indian restaurant next door are great guys, living "hand to mouth" as he said.  This has to hurt.
  • Agreed.  It's a great team at Bombay Masala.  I've always been impressed by their food and service. 

    Unfortunately, Vicente's was always a bit ill conceived..
  • Yes, Bombat Masala has fantastic food and the management & waiters, etc are all super lovely and sweet, and deserve lots of success.  But the Vicente's thing just doesn't seem wel-thought out. Hopefully they will re-focus & shift the non-working Vicente's bit. Wishing them well.

This discussion has been closed.