Gage and Tollner

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Gage and Tollner Restaurant
Fulton St., Gage & Tollner restaurant, 1987 (7998320161).jpg
Gage and Tollner in 1987
Gage and Tollner is located in New York City
Gage and Tollner
Gage and Tollner is located in New York
Gage and Tollner
Gage and Tollner is located in the US
Gage and Tollner
Location 372 Fulton St., New York, New York
Coordinates 40°41′28″N 73°59′17″W / 40.69111°N 73.98806°W / 40.69111; -73.98806Coordinates: 40°41′28″N 73°59′17″W / 40.69111°N 73.98806°W / 40.69111; -73.98806
Area less than one acre
Built 1875
Architectural style Italianate
NRHP reference #


Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 3, 1982
Designated NYCL November 12, 1974

Gage and Tollner was a restaurant on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. It had been in business since 1879 and in the same location since 1892 until it closed on February 14, 2004. The building it was housed has been in existence since 1875.[2]


It was built about 1875 and is a four-story late Italianate style brownstone building. The painted wood storefront was probably added in 1892 when the restaurant opened. It includes a portico with modified Doric order columns. The interior retains the original Victorian design including Lincrusta-Walton wall covering.[3]

Gage and Tollner's began when Charles Gage opened an "eating house" at 303 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, in 1879. In 1880, Eugene Tollner joined him and the restaurant became known as Gage and Tollner's in 1882. The restaurant moved to 372–374 Fulton Street in 1892.[4]

It attracted customers like Diamond Jim Brady, Jimmy Durante and Mae West.[5]

Gage and Tollner retired in 1911 and sold the restaurant to A.H. Cunningham and Alexander Ingalls, with the provision that neither the interior nor the name be changed. They sold the restaurant eight years later to Seth Bradford Dewey. The Deweys bought the entire building in 1923 and continued to run the business until 1985.

In the 1980s the restaurant and building was bought by Peter Aschkenasy who brought in famed chef Edna Lewis. She helped "transform" the restaurant by adding her famed Southern cuisine, such as cornbread, catfish and a "legendary she-crab soup".[6] Joseph Chirico, who owned the restaurant since 1995, made the hard decision to close the restaurant since "the business was dragging every day."

The former Gage and Tollner site in October 2008

Shortly after it closed, T.G.I. Friday's moved in.[7] T.G.I. Friday's vacated the space in 2007. After gaining interior design approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission,[8] an Arby's franchise, owned by Raymond Chera, opened at the location on January 21, 2010.[8] In August 2010, the Arby's franchise closed.[9] As of 2012 the space is inhabited by a discount costume jewelry and leather coats store. Most of the antique fixtures have disappeared or have been covered up by modern lighting and fixtures.

In 2018, a crowdfunding initiative to restore the restaurant to its former glory was announced.[10]


It had 36 gaslamps, meaning it could stay open in a blackout, cherry framed mirrors and tables made of mahogany.[2]

Beginning in the fall of 1995, Chirico made some renovations and closed down the restaurant until April/May 1996. He said "he has tried to retain the historic flavor of the restaurant while providing modern amenities."[11]

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1] The interior had been granted landmark status by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.[12]


"Milford Prewitt, a former writer and editor for Nation’s Restaurant News, described the restaurant as one of the most “romantic dining environments in the city, contributing to its ranking as one of the top restaurants for marriage proposals.” Or, as L.J. Davis wrote in an essay in the nostalgic anthology Brooklyn: A State of Mind, “You go to Gage’s (as many regulars call it) for the experience, the way you go to heaven for the climate and to hell for the company.”"[5]

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