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Little Trini Cafe Brings 'Carl's Famous Doubles' to Nostrand Avenue

 Little Trini Cafe is among four new businesses opening in Crown Heights in December and early 2015 in Crown Heights.
New Businesses in Crown Heights
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CROWN HEIGHTS — Carl Clarke has been making and selling doubles  the classic Trinidadian street food  in Crown Heights for decades.

“Since 1987, [I’ve been] pushing the cart down Nostrand Avenue,” Clarke, a native of Trinidad, said while manning the very same cart that has served the chickpea-and-fried-bread snacks for years.

But now, Clarke and his son, Curtis, are teaming up to give Carl’s Famous Doubles a new home. In February, the Clarkes plan to open Little Trini Cafe, a casual restaurant serving Trinidadian and American food, at 735 Nostrand Ave. between Sterling and St. Johns places, they said.

The menu will have all kinds of Trinidadian classics like aloo pie (a pastry-and-potato snack similar to the Indian samosa), fried batter balls served with chutney known as pholourie and sweets like tamarind balls and “mango chow,” they said. In addition, they’ll serve American staples like coffee, doughnuts, wraps and salads.

“We’re looking to cater to both ends of the community,” said Curtis. “Even though it’s called ‘Little Trini,’ that doesn’t mean you can’t come in and get a turkey panini sandwich.”

Prices at the cafe will be low, he said, with most snacks and dishes going for $5 or less.

And, of course, he said, the doubles will always be available for $2 each outside the shop  where Carl’s cart will remain, even when the brick-and-mortar shop opens.

“We want people to come and have the Trinidad experience, which is always seeing our pushcart in the front. If you ever go to Trinidad, you never have to walk into an establishment to buy doubles,” Curtis said.

Little Trini Cafe will be open seven days a week starting the first weekend of February. For more information and updates, visit the Carl’s Famous Doubles Facebook page.

Check out these other shops and eateries that recently opened for business  or will open soon  on Nostrand, Rogers and Bedford avenues near Little Trini Cafe:

Chika Mexicana, 814 Nostrand Ave.

This casual Mexican restaurant opened last week next to Lula Bagel near Lincoln Place, serving burritos, tacos and quesadillas between $3 and $6, its staff said. The four co-owners of the new eatery wanted to open in Crown Heights because they noticed Nostrand Avenue lacked a good Mexican joint, the shop’s manager said.

Chika’s products include fresh, “health-conscious,” non-GMO ingredients whenever possible, according to its website. The restaurant is open every day at 11 a.m.

Marché Rue Dix, 1453 Bedford Ave.

The owners of the French Senegalese restaurant Rue Dix Cafe have expanded into a storefront next door, opening Marché Rue Dix, a boutique that sells vintage clothing, housewares, gifts and accessories.

The new shop is the brainchild of Nilea Alexander, co-owner of the cafe with her husband, Lamine Diagne. Alexander works as a district manager for Urban Outfitters, but makes time to run the boutique, which she’s wanted to open for years, Diagne said.

“That’s her dream come true,” he said.

The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. News of the opening was first reported by Brownstoner.

Coffee shop, 167 Rogers Ave.

Construction is underway at this former bodega on the corner of Rogers Avenue and St. Johns Place where workers said a new coffee shop will open, but could not say when. Large glass windows have replaced metal roll-down gates and, inside, workers are busy building a long, wooden bar along the space’s exposed brick south wall.

An inquiry made to the owner of the new spot was not immediately returned. News of the project was first reported by Brownstoner.