Author Topic: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory  (Read 26030 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« on: October 30, 2008, 06:56:27 pm »

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/a-new-restaurant-in-heath-ledgers-memory/?hp



October 30, 2008, 4:58 pm
A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
By Andrea Rice



Two of Heath Ledger’s friends — Scott Campbell, left, and Jud Mongell — helped him plan for a restaurant-bar in Brooklyn before his death in January. Mr. Mongell, the actor’s business partner, opened the establishment in September. (Photos: Elizabeth Payne)


After the actor Heath Ledger died in January, the fate of a restaurant and bar he had planned to open in Brooklyn was thrown into question. Then in July, his family announced that it would release money from his estate to complete the business.

On Sept. 17, the restaurant-bar, Five Leaves, opened at 18 Bedford Avenue, near the Greenpoint-Williamsburg boundary. In an interview, Mr. Ledger’s business partner, Jud Mongell, and Scott Campbell, a tattoo artist who was also a friend of the actor’s, traced the evolution of their friendship with Mr. Ledger, who they say relished his friendships with ordinary people.

Mr. Mongell said he was introduced to Mr. Ledger at a beach party in Australia more than two years ago, not long after the filming of the influential drama Brokeback Mountain” (2005), for which Mr. Ledger was nominated for an Oscar.

Two weeks after the beach party, they met again at a wedding, and standing in the corner of the dance floor, they chatted the night away and discovered similarities in their lives, Mr. Mongell recalled. “I had lived in L.A. and N.Y., and so did he,” Mr. Mongell said. “I went to Burning Man, he went to Burning Man -– all this stuff came up.”

From music to motorbikes, tattoos to coffee, and even daughters who were the same age, the men linked one conversation to the next. Mr. Mongell and Mr. Ledger both had plans to move to New York in the following months. They broached the idea of opening a coffee shop together and decided to stay in touch.

“When I got to New York, I thought I should give that dude Heath a call, but I figured he was probably real busy,” Mr. Mongell said. “I was sure he’d screen me.” But Mr. Ledger’s phone barely rang twice before he answered, eager to pick up where they had left off, Mr. Mongell recalled.

Mr. Ledger was on his way to Saved Tattoo in Williamsburg for the first time, where he was to meet Mr. Campbell, on the recommendation of Helena Christensen, the Victoria’s Secret model.

“It’s funny because the first time he came in, I didn’t even know who he was,” Mr. Campbell said, recalling that he was unable to fit the actor into his very busy schedule that day. While Saved Tattoo is notorious for having waiting times as long as three months, Mr. Campbell asked the actor to come back a week later for the bird tattoo he wanted.

“Heath would come hang out at the tattoo shop all the time, and they started talking about doing something around here,” Mr. Campbell said. (Mr. Ledger showed up for his appointment, but he already had the bird tattoo on his arm because he said he hadn’t been patient enough to wait. But he wasn’t happy with the tattoo, so he kept the appointment with Mr. Campbell, who fixed it.)

The next day, when a photographer stopped by the tattoo shop asking about Mr. Ledger’s tattoo, Mr. Campbell realized who he was. “Oh yeah, sorry mate,” Mr. Campbell recalled Mr. Ledger saying when told about the photographer. “I just did this movie, Brokeback Mountain.’

Mr. Campbell did a half-dozen more tattoos for Mr. Ledger. “I don’t know how many times he would call me at, like, 8 a.m., 6 in the morning with tattoo ideas — he would be jet-lagged, just flew in from somewhere on a completely different time schedule, and he would be like ‘Ohhh! I just saw this in a book. I decided what I want to get tattooed! I was like, ‘Okay, cool, we will get around to it!’ ”

Mr. Ledger would insist that he would be there in 20 minutes or so, Mr. Campbell said. “I’m like, Heath, it’s 7 in the morning; just call me later,’ ” he recalled. “I’d hang up the phone, and like half an hour later, he’d be knocking on my door, like, ‘Let’s go!’ ”

The actor soon introduced Mr. Mongell to Mr. Campbell, and the three became fast friends.

As his celebrity status escalated in the aftermath of “Brokeback Mountain,” Mr. Ledger yearned for genuine human interaction, his friends said.

“We would all hang out in the West Village, and he was just like the guy with a cigarette,” Mr. Campbell said. “He loved when anyone would react to him as a normal person. He really appreciated that.” Mr. Ledger would give out his cigarettes and strike up conversation with just about anyone, he said. But the minute anyone said, “You’re Heath Ledger,” the conversation would become stilted, he said.

“He’d be like, ‘Yeah, that’s right’ and he would let that conversation just end there,” said Mr. Mongell. “And then they could either have regular conversation or there would be no more conversation.”

Mr. Ledger would open up more to fellow Australians, Mr. Campbell said. “Australians have this amazing camaraderie,” he said. “They run into each other anywhere, and if you’re Australian, it’s like, ‘Cool, what do you need? Do you want my wallet? What?’ Amazing.”

Mr. Ledger lived in Boerum Hill with the actress Michelle Williams and their daughter, Matilda, until the couple separated. During that time, he spent much of his free time in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, where he discovered the triangular-shaped space for the future restaurant-bar while skateboarding, Mr. Campbell said.

At one point, Mr. Ledger made an offer to buy out an elderly Polish woman running a barbershop in the neighborhood. “He even pitched an offer for the whole building,” Mr. Mongell said. “He was going to build a commune for all of his friends,” Mr. Campbell added.

The original idea of a coffee shop morphed into a plan for an Australian-meets-American restaurant-bar that would serve local and organic fare. “This would have been Heath’s hangout,” said Mr. Mongell, who now runs Five Leaves with his wife but still refers to Mr. Ledger as an equal partner in the business. Mr. Ledger’s father, Kim, is managing the business’s finances.

Over time, the Williamsburg community became desensitized to Mr. Ledger’s celebrity presence. He would show up at the local lounge Zebulon to watch soccer with the bartenders or show up at Union Pool with the crew from Dumont Burger. He took the wheel of the DJ booth and laid down a few tracks at the hipster hangout Enid’s for a birthday party of fewer than a dozen people. “After a while, Heath had all his regular spots around here, and no one would call Page Six anymore when he walked in the door, because nobody cared,” Mr. Campbell said. “He was the Williamsburg dude.”

Mr. Campbell said that Mr. Ledger loved having friends around. Mr. Campbell raided the actor’s closet and slept on his couch. There were always people coming and going at Mr. Ledger’s place, drinking tea, using the computer and gathering around for dinner. Mr. Ledger was always manning the barbecue grill or making espresso. “If he could cook at his house with an ocean of people laying on the living room floor watching movies, that was his heaven,” Mr. Campbell said. “That and his daughter, Matilda -– she was everything to him.” Aside from his production company endeavors, Mr. Ledger also planned to build a drive-in at an old garage to watch movies with his daughter.

Mr. Mongell, who described himself as Mr. Ledger’s “boring” friend who organized play dates for their daughters and was always talking business, said the actor truly lived the New York experience. He taught his daughter how to skateboard. He rode his bike over the Williamsburg Bridge. He visited farmer’s markets. He played chess in Washington Square Park, and he brought coffee for the paparazzi.

“He really just took New York and rolled with it,” Mr. Mongell said. “He was just one of us, man.”


Scott Campbell, left, and Jud Mongell in Five Leaves, the restaurant and bar that Mr. Mongell opened with support from the family of their late friend, the actor Heath Ledger.


Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GWYA,GWYA:2006-09,GWYA:en&q=18+Bedford+Avenue+nyc&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2008, 01:52:48 am »
Thanks, John.  That's the best article yet on it.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008, 07:31:03 am »

Very sad.

 :(
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2008, 09:00:24 am »
Where did Heath have a bird tattoo? That's not one I recall ever seeing pictures of.

L
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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 10:03:45 am »
Where did Heath have a bird tattoo? That's not one I recall ever seeing pictures of.

L


Left forearm, inner side:


Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008, 01:49:12 pm »

Left forearm, inner side:



Oh, right...of course. Thanks, Chrissi.

L
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 02:08:51 am »

Meryl and I went to Greenpoint, Brooklyn today, and we had ourselves a Christmas Week Luncheon at
Five Leaves (Heath's restaurant).
Much better than the Greyhound Station Cafe--we had a great time!


Monday, December 22, 2008
1:00 - 4:00 PM
(13 degrees Fahrenheit!)


FIVE LEAVES
33 images




1 Leaf




2 Leaves




3 Leaves




4 Leaves




Five Leaves (The desserts are on the wall. Very serious!)




6 Leaves (The Kitchen--cleverly situated immediately opposite our table!)




7 Leaves




8 Leaves (The Breakfast ('Brekkie!') Menu--lots of BEANS~
                 and Mr. DelMar sure never heard about them TRUFFLED fries before.





9 Leaves (Great coffee!--oh, right, they call 'em 'Lattes.')




10 Leaves (Meryl arrives!)




11 Leaves (Fries are temptin')




12 Leaves




13 Leaves (In case we need to drown the truffle oil!)




14 Leaves (We love those truffled fries!)




15 Leaves (Hey, even the beans are great!)




16 Leaves (Meryl's Scrambled Eggs with Sage!)



17 Leaves (Meryl approves--she didn't even mind that I scarfed up most of the beans!)




18 Leaves (Burnt--on purposed--Tomato Soup)




19 Leaves (Meryl takes the iPhone, I take the spoon)




20 Leaves




21 Leaves




22 Leaves (No really, the soup was great; I was just thinking about it!)




23 Leaves (We rest.)




24 Leaves




25 Leaves




26 Leaves (Dessert! I have the Early Grey Ice Cream, Meryl has the
                  Mexican Cinnamon Ice Cream, and we both have the shortbread--intense!)





27 Leaves (Meryl takes a picture of me as Rick Warren, thinking I might get an invitation to
                  the Inaug-rashun.' Suddenly I feel spiritual--and fatter. But that was
                  the shortbread and the ice cream.)





28 Leaves (Meryl thinks we should start to mosey--it's getting cold! Like, really, really cold;
                  one of the owners arrive--I think it was Heath's manager, Jud Mongell, very, very friendly--
                  and tells us that the boiler has suddenly died. They are putting on electric heat. We say
                  they should start burning the chairs--he looked nonplused--it was a joke!





29 Leaves (Even Mrs. Twist would approve.)




30 Leaves (Very clean.)




31 Leaves (And Spiritual.)




32 Leaves (Politely, we do not burn the chairs.)




33 Leaves (A Ledger ancestor? Probably not!)




FIVE LEAVES
Cafe Bar Oysters

18 Bedford Ave
Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222
Phone: 718.383.5345

Open 7 days
8am til 12 am
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2008, 02:40:43 am »
I love going to lunch with you two!  :-*

I was excited by the Earl Grey ice cream, I was hoping we were going to have that when I saw it on the menu.  :)

It's an unprepossessing lil place, in' it?  I expected grander.  Or at least plus grand

Wonder what Heath would a et.  Did you see the table with the chess board top that we read about?

I feel sad and happy.

Offline Meryl

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2008, 02:44:55 am »
 :laugh: John!  You are too funny.  ;D


23 Leaves (We rest.)

For some reason, this made me laugh so hard!  I look like the Sphinx anticipating the next course.  :laugh:

Thank you for another marvelous culinary adventure, full of Brokie goodness.  And thank you for my beautiful present!  :-*  :-*  :-*
Ich bin ein Brokie...

Offline Meryl

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Re: Five Leaves: A Brooklyn Restaurant, in Heath Ledger’s Memory
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2008, 02:46:58 am »
I love going to lunch with you two!  :-*

I was excited by the Earl Grey ice cream, I was hoping we were going to have that when I saw it on the menu.  :)

It's an unprepossessing lil place, in' it?  I expected grander.  Or at least plus grand

Wonder what Heath would a et.  Did you see the table with the chess board top that we read about?

I feel sad and happy.

That Earl Grey ice cream was sumpn, wasn't it?  Yum.

Dang it, I thought about looking for the chessboard tables, but then forgot as we were leaving.  Next time, though!  :)
Ich bin ein Brokie...