BOHACK RESTAURANT, Ridgewood

by Kevin Walsh

German immigrant Henry C. Bohack opened his first grocery in 1887 and over the years Bohack developed into one of the first powerhouse grocery store chains. Grand Union, Key Food and all the rest were to follow. When the Depression arrived in late 1929, Bohack responded by actually opening more stores to provide employment. The founder passed away in 1931.

Bohack was recognizable by the distinctive “B” in the logo. A building now used as a warehouse in the triangle formed by Flushing Avenue and Troutman Street still has those B’s emblazoned on the sides of the building. As this photo from the 1930s demonstrates, this building once housed a Bohack’s restaurant.

Bohack’s prospered until 1974 when the chain went bankrupt. After an attempted merger with Shop-Rite failed, Bohack’s disappeared into the history books in 1977. Occasionally, though, an old awning or sign is taken down and the Big B is in evidence briefly once more.

The former Bohack restaurant really is a handsome building in buff brick. It’s hampered by its location on Flushing Avenue, which on the Brooklyn-Queens border is dominated by auto repair shops and auto glass wholesalers, making it a mini version of the Iron Triangle (or what’s left of it) in Corona across 126th Street (Seaver Way) from Citifield.

Bohack once had a large distribution complex at the Flushing-Metropolitan Avenue crossroads, and many of the brick buildings of the complex remain. “Bohack warehouse” can still be seen on this building at Troutman and Flushing.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

9/15/20

9 comments

Francis Lewis September 15, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Kevin – have you heard any of the rumors about how one of the Bohack sons was an habitual gambler and lost much of the Bohack wealth to betting?

Reply
redstaterefugee September 16, 2020 - 11:25 am

Francis Lewis:
Have you seen Dr. Martin abend recently? I hope Mrs. Lewis is feeling better. Send her my regards.

Reply
EW_3 September 24, 2020 - 5:26 pm

Just guessing, but I suspect you lived on Francis Lewis Blvd.
I lived there in my early years at 90-27.

Reply
Joe Fliel September 16, 2020 - 9:38 am

More urban myth BS. Henry C. Bohack had no children. After his death on Sept. 18, 1931, Bohack was owned by his wife, his four nephews and their cousins. Bohack’s
financial difficulties dated from the 1970s.

Reply
Frank Jellison September 17, 2020 - 12:43 pm

Up the road a bit on the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and 60th Street stood a Bohack store. The photo was taken in 1940. Down 60th street I can see the house that I grew up in. i was born in 1946 but have no memory of the store although an old school friend who is the same age as me says that he remembers it

Reply
DWMiller September 17, 2020 - 1:39 pm

The H.C. Bohack Company was acquired by Charles Bluhdorn back in the 1960s, who eventually bought Paramount Pictures and incorporated it into his Gulf+Western Industries, the crew that Mel Brooks called “engulf+devour” …

Reply
Andy September 17, 2020 - 8:16 pm

The Stop & Shop Supermarket at Northern Blvd. and Marathon Parkway was originally a Bohack’s when it opened new in the mid-1960s. I remember it well.

Reply
Jeffrey H. Wasserman September 18, 2020 - 6:03 am

I recall how in the early 1970s a cousin of mine turned stockbroker convinced my dad to buy stock in the combined Bohacks/Packers/Hills supermarket corporation. It was obviously a merger of three fading supermarket chains desperate to turn things around that figured bulking up in size would equate to success. Fortunately, dad didn’t put too much money into the stock, but whatever he did ante up was lost.

Reply
Zalman Lev September 18, 2020 - 7:46 am

You had covered this building previously — in your traversal of Metropolitan Avenue — that seemed to, perhaps, contain company offices. You posted that entry in 2015; within a couple of years it was gone. A Google car captured it for posterity, or at least until Google no longer displays it: Metropolitan Avenue Bohack Company Offices?

Reply

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