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Getting to Know the Neighborhood – Brookside Shops

The many great shops, restaurants and small businesses of Brookside are an essential component to what makes the Brookside neighborhood truly unique. Many of the great shops and businesses are locally owned, offering everything from delicious cuisine to one-of-a-kind floral arrangements and hand-crafted candles. Home to over 70 shops, restaurants, boutiques, offices and small businesses, we get up close and personal with three of our favorite neighborhood go-tos!

5B&Co. Candlemakers

Originally founded in Weston, Missouri by Marsha Flowers, former elementary school teacher Lori Woods was a frequent shopper at this charming candle shop. Lori mentioned to Marsha that she would love to open a store in Brookside. One thing led to another and, 6 months later, Lori’s Brookside dream became a reality.

5b&Co. Owner: Lori Woods

Fast forward to today and Lori just celebrated 15 years as the owner of Brookside’s 5B&Co. Candlemakers! A longtime favorite shop of Brookside Real Estate’s owner Jim Kraus and his wife Roberta, this lovely shop offers over 170 different candle scents to choose from. Lori said that 5B&Co’s customers’ favorite scent is “Brookside Bungalow.”

“Reminiscent of crisp summer air blowing through the windows on a quiet night complete with all the neighborhood charm as its namesake,” Brookside Bungalow is the perfect candle for all fans of the Brookside neighborhood!

When asked what she likes best about her shop being located in Brookside, Lori’s response was exactly the reason we too love to shop local: “It’s the people, they are very loyal,” Lori said. “Roberta Kraus has been shopping with me the entire time we’ve been in business. Brookside has a real feel of community and everyone wants to keep it that way.”

The Fiddly Fig

Now celebrating their 35th anniversary, this family owned and operated florist provides only the highest quality flowers, plants and gifts at the fairest possible prices. Whether you need arrangements for a wedding, graduation, a birthday, anniversary – or even just to say, “I’m thinking of you!” – Fiddly Fig is the local place to go.

One of the things we love most about Fiddly Fig is their dedication to customer service. Offering their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Fiddly Fig will gladly replace your purchase if it does not meet your expectations – with absolutely no hassle.

One nearby customer said, “The flower arrangements, bouquets and ceremony décor for our wedding were absolutely beautiful! Fiddly Fig took my ideas and made them come to life even better than I could’ve imagined.”

The beauty and quality of Fiddly Fig’s floral arrangements speak for themselves, but the above and beyond customer service is what we at Brookside Real Estate admire the most about this local business. We are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community!

Brookside Barrio

New to the Brookside community this year, Brookside Barrio is the talk of the town! This warm and inviting taqueria-inspired restaurant offers “street” tacos and a variety of other Mexican-inspired items. With more outdoor seating than indoor, this casual restaurant is the perfect place to grab a drink while munching on some chips and salsa under the covered patio this summer!

When asked how Brookside has responded to the opening of Brookside Barrio, Luke Pickett, Managing Partner, said, “So far it’s been pretty great! We have been busy since we opened, and everyone has been really supportive.” Luke continued, “I live right down the street, so I love the neighborhood. It’s a very local, tight-knit community. Being local guys, this is where we wanted to be.”

After a couple of afternoon get-togethers at Brookside Barrio, the Realtors of Brookside Real Estate agree that this tasty south of the border culinary destination is the perfect addition to our community. If you haven’t visited yet, try out Brookside Barrio for yourself – with sunshine, fresh margaritas and a variety of specialty tacos, we don’t know of a better place to enjoy summer in Brookside!

Be sure to check out these unique businesses for yourself the next time you’re in Brookside. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 9 West 63rd Street – the home of Brookside Real Estate – when the flag is up, we’re open! We can’t wait to show you how you can make this special neighborhood your very own home!

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Spotlight: Jim Kraus

Who is Brookside Real Estate Broker and Realtor Jim Kraus? Many often assume he is the founder of Brookside Real Estate Company, but that’s not the case. In fact, Jim’s original career was in Advertising where he spent 20 years in various marketing/advertising positions – including with the Kansas City Royals as a marketing intern, then a gig selling commercial specialty printing and later in sales management at local radio stations, KMBZ, KCMO and 101 The Fox, to name a few.

After two decades in marketing, printing and broadcast, Jim decided to make a change. He realized the career satisfaction he longed for was not in marketing sales. That’s when Jim decided to take a leap of faith, follow in his father’s career footsteps and pursue a career in residential Real Estate.

Jim received his license to practice in 2003 and decided to hang his license with a local agency called Brookside Real Estate – founded and at the time owned by an old acquaintance of his father named Lee McGraw. Jim apparently was just the kind of guy Lee wanted to carry on the company he created.

Ironically, Jim found out that his very own father was the real estate professional that Lee considered to be his own mentor. Two short years and a fair amount of challenging yet rewarding work later, Jim would become the new owner of Brookside Real Estate Company!

“I love Brookside so much that is was natural for me to buy the company,” Jim said. “It’s where I’ve lived my entire life!” Jim refers to Brookside as his, “stomping ground,” recalling times when he would sled down suicide hill and trick-or-treat through the neighborhood as a child.

Jim continued, “I’ve sold houses that I mowed lawns for as a teenager. I’ve sold houses where I cut through their yard as a shortcut to play football with a buddy. I’ve sold houses where I played basketball in their driveway growing up. For me, Brookside is, and always has been, my home.”

To Jim the real estate business is not about being #1 in a zip code or even having the most sales, it’s about putting people in homes they love. According to Jim, “I see these people at the Brookside Market, at the Barkery, at sporting events or even just walking out of Jimmy Johns. I like seeing them and knowing not only am I their agent, I’m their neighbor.”

According to Jim’s fellow realtors at Brookside Real Estate, one thing that sets Jim apart from other realtors is how he goes above and beyond for every showing – turning on lights, setting the thermostat, making beds (and, well, even picking up dog do-do!).

“I don’t care if it’s a $100,000 house or a $1,000,000 house, I provide the same service,” Jim said. Buyer or seller, Jim wants all parties involved to have the best real estate experience – and deal – possible. Importantly, Jim says he really cares about finding the just perfect home for his neighbors to continue to grow their lives and their families.

Although 15 years ago making a complete career change and leaving a six-figure job was a pretty big risk, Jim says he could not be more satisfied with the positive effect that change has had on his life. Jim says there’s no question, being a realtor truly is in his blood, noting, “It’s the thrill of seeing people walk through that door for the first time after closing – and seeing the kids take off running through the house. Those moments – watching a house magically transforming into a home – there’s nothing better than that.”

So, next time you see Jim Kraus at the grocery store, or The Roasterie, or his favorite neighborhood hangout – Charlie Hooper’s – be sure to stop and say, “Hi!” There’s nothing he enjoys more than catching up with his neighbors, former classmates, clients, and friends. For Jim, they’re all often one and the same.

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Tips to Take on Spring Storm Season

April showers bring May flowers! Though spring is much welcomed after the lengthy KC winter months, it comes with the possibility of severe weather with potential property damage resulting in financial loss for residents. Flooding, high winds and lightning are the most common weather-related causes of damage in the Kansas City Metro area.

Your friends here at Brookside Real Estate Company have seen more than a little weather damage throughout our years in the neighborhood and want to share a little precautionary advice that may help protect you and your home this spring season:

Flooding:

  • Ensure any leaks on your roof are repaired to prevent water from leaking into your home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working correctly.
  • Clean your gutters and remove any objects that could block water from flowing through down spouts and away from your home.
  • If water does accumulate in your home, be sure to pull-up any wet carpet immediately to prevent mold growth.

High Winds:

  • Inspect your roof for loose shingles – or tiles – prior to storm season. Repair or replace if necessary.
  • Secure – or store – any outdoor items that may easily be swept up by gusts of wind (ex. patio furniture, cushions and outdoor umbrellas).
  • Keep windows shut to prevent high wind or hail damage.
  • Identify a designated safe space in your home for you and your family in case of tornadoes.

Lightning:

  • Disconnect computers and their cables from power sources when travelling or away from home (for example, while on vacation).
  • Keep non-essential electronics unplugged when not using them.
  • Avoid using computers and other electronics during thunderstorms.
  • Avoid showering during thunderstorms as lightning can travel through plumbing systems.

There you have it – some helpful tips for protecting your home and loved ones during spring storm season! If property damage does occur, be certain to contact your insurance provider and take pictures of any damage. Consult the National Weather Service website to monitor weather conditions in your area.

Looking to buy or sell a home this spring? The real estate professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are always here to help! With over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and significant expertise in Brookside and other surrounding Kansas City neighborhoods, no one is better qualified to assist with your home buying or selling needs. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat – about the weather, real estate or anything else that’s on your mind!

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Meet Judy Rea – Attorney and Realtor

When Judy Rea joined Brookside Real Estate Company back in 2002, she probably didn’t realize how many hats she would end up wearing or the variety of roles she’d fulfill!

Judy began as a broker/agent in 2002, then took on the added role of office manager when Jim Kraus purchased the company in January 2005.  Did we mention that Judy is also an attorney?”  Read on!

Judy began her professional career as a lawyer – which is not completely surprising as both Judy’s parents were also attorneys.  While in law school, Judy would meet her future husband, Loren Rea, whom she married in 1973.

The Brookside area charmed Judy and her husband from the start so it was natural that they would purchase their first house together along Gregory Boulevard in Brookside.  Four years later they moved to a house that they completely renovated near Loose Park where they still reside.  After 26 years practicing law, Judy was ready to take her career in a new direction and her many experiences with real estate (both as a lawyer and an investor) made for an easy transition to becoming a real estate agent with Brookside Real Estate Company.

“I really fell in love with the variety of styles and floorplans of the homes in Brookside,” said Judy.  “The friendliness and neighborliness throughout the entire community is something that I truly cherish.

With degrees in Sociology, Psychology and Law from UMKC, Judy also has a passion for learning – and a love for helping people.  Her favorite part of being a Realtor at Brookside Real Estate is doing the research to help her clients find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood – followed closely by utilizing her negotiation skills to help those clients secure the best home deals.

Judy admits her real estate knowledge and experience goes well beyond Brookside; “Although I grew up in Independence and now live in Brookside, I’m familiar with neighborhoods up north, on the Kansas side, and really all around Kansas City.

In her free time Judy is an artist who enjoys painting, knitting, crocheting, reading and playing the piano.  “I also really enjoy cooking, entertaining friends, and spending time with our dog, Jazzy,” said Judy.  If you’re looking for an agent who not only loves and lives in Brookside, but is also knowledgeable of the surrounding area, call Brookside Real Estate Company and ask for Judy Rea.  We promised you will be glad you did!

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Agent Spotlight: Ellen Zetmeir

Brookside Real Estate agent Ellen Zetmeir may be the newest member of our team, but she’s been an expert in the field of understanding the structure and unique character of Brookside homes for years.

Ellen first fell in love with the neighborhood and its distinct and unique homes as a child when her uncle and aunt moved to Brookside.

A native of Kansas City, Ellen lived and worked in Wisconsin for several years, first working for a cabinet company and then for Pella windows. She moved back to Kansas City to be closer to family – and to finally live in Brookside, the neighborhood she’d loved since adolescence.

Ellen worked with Brookside Real Estate in finding and purchasing her Brookside dream home. Her own Brookside home-buying experience fanned the flames of Ellen’s passion for older homes and convinced her that working with home buyers and home sellers who had the same love for old homes – and for Brookside – was inevitable. Ellen decided to pursue her dream of becoming a real estate agent with the same company that helped her with her own home: Brookside Real Estate!

While Ellen’s expertise doesn’t limit her to working with older homes, houses built pre-1940 are her absolute favorite. “I see each home as unique, and as having its own story. In getting to know these homes I feel that I can see a part of their history and get to know their personality,” said Ellen.

This skill has proved invaluable to Ellen, enabling her to perfectly match each family with just the right home. Not only does her expertise help match homes for sale with the best buyers, it also helps her know what potential problems to look for in home inspections and to be able to effectively communicate the scope of any structure issue with her clients. “Older homes have their own personalities, and charm, but they also come with their own baggage. Helping buyers and sellers navigate this is one of my specialties,” said Ellen.

When Ellen is not busy matching homes with buyers, she loves to stay active in her community. She is a board member on the Wornall Homestead Homes Association and serves on the Country Club/Waldo Steering Committee. She is a lifetime Girl Scout member – honored with their “Thanks Badge” recognition, and continues to work with local Girl Scouting.

You can often find Ellen driving the streets of Brookside, top down on her SAAB, still admiring the architecture she fell in love with as a child. Or sharing her screened-in porch with friends, neighbors and clients – or even hosting a live blues music party in her back yard.

Click here to learn more about Ellen – or stop in and meet her at our offices at 9 West 63rd street! You’ll be glad you did!

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Agent Spotlight: Courtney Kraus

Brookside Real Estate agent Courtney Kraus has been selling houses for almost 20 years. After workingin the fast-paced commodity world on the trading floor at the Kansas City Board of Trade, she gave in to fate (both parents were Realtors) and got her real estate license in 1999. ​Her fast pace experience has been a big help. ​

She is passionate about real estate, “I love people and I really care about my clients, said Courtney. “This business can be so technical and at the same time requires a lot of creativity.” This profession fits perfectly for Courtney.  She takes great care in providing excellent service, juggling the technical details of her business along with managing her business relationships. “I want my clients to be happy with my service, said Courtney. “The rewards of the relationships are what make me tick.”

One of Courtney’s favorite experiences as an agent is when she was able to sell a home in Brookside that had already been listed for a year. “I listed the home, brought up some furniture from the basement, didn’t raise the price, and sold the home in less than a week,” said Courtney. After she found the seller a home in Waldo, she also listed her brother’s condo in Meyer West, and her Mom’s home in Mission Hills. “I really love when I’m able to help an entire family with their real estate needs.”

Courtney grew up in Kansas City, just south of the Plaza. ​ “Because of my profession, ​I’m able to get to know all the fabulous pockets of neighborhoods in our great city​,” said Courtney. She and her husband live in Waldo, just south of Brookside.  She believes Waldo is becoming the next Brookside. “It’s still affordable to the first-time buyer and close to shops, restaurants and coffee houses. “​Waldo’s value is appreciating, so now is a good time to buy.”

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling, estate sale shopping, and hanging out with her pets.  If you’re searching for a Realtor who knows the ins-and-outs of real estate, you might want to talk with Courtney. After all, she’s been training for this job most of her life!  Call Brookside Real Estate and ask for Courtney, or check her out on our website. We promise, she will indeed exceed your expectations! ​

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Agent Spotlight: Nicole Lonergan

Brookside Real Estate Realtor Nicole Lonergan has been in residential real estate for almost 20 years now. She started first in new construction, but soon fell in love with the Brookside and Waldo areas of Kansas City. She wanted to work in the community that she lived in, so she joined Brookside Real Estate in 2010.  “Jim Kraus – Brookside Real Estate’s Company’s lead broker – is my brother-in-law, so it just made perfect sense to me to become a part of Brookside Real Estate,” said Nicole.

With a true passion for helping people, Nicole’s favorite aspect of being a real estate agent is being able to get the best deals for her clients. “It’s also really great to be able to live and work in such a wonderful community,” said Nicole. “I love Brookside, Waldo and the relationships I’ve built with my clients over the years.”

One of Nicole’s best experiences as an agent was when she was able to find a great home for a single mom with two children. “She thought she would never, ever be able to own a home,” said Nicole. “We worked as a team and were able to find a program that would work for her, and a home for her and her two kids! That was pretty cool.”

The Waldo and Brookside areas are great neighborhoods to attend events like trolley runs and festivals. It’s filled with charming shops and some of the most unique homes in Kansas City. Not only does Nicole know the ins outs of Brookside, but no one knows Waldo better than her!  She works and lives in the wonderful Waldo neighborhood along with her husband, Eddie, and three kids Dylan (18), Jack (6), and Emma (7).  When Nicole’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family. “We love to go hiking on the trails in Kansas City – and we can’t wait to go on vacation to Colorado this summer!”

Nicole says her job isn’t over once the closing documents have been signed. Many times her clients will come to her, even after they’ve moved into their new home, with real estate questions. Nicole is always more than happy to answer their questions and be their real estate advisor for as long as they need. Having experience in both new and old homes, Nicole is extremely well-rounded – and here to answer any questions you may have!

Just click here to learn more or contact Nicole today!

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30 Years and Beyond!

2017 was the 30th Anniversary of Brookside Real Estate, and we took that has an opportunity to refresh
our commitment to the Brookside Community and as a challenge to being as accessible as possible to the buyers and sellers in this wonderful neighborhood we call home. As we bid farewell to 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a great year and thank all the wonderful clients that have made the past 12 months (not to mention 30 years!) so special.

We started 2017 by launching a brand-new website with an updated look and feel and, also, as our smartphone users have certainly noticed, we became mobile-friendly! Our new website has made it easier than ever to connect with any of the agents at Brookside Real Estate – and review up-to-the-minute new listings!

On the “put a face with a name” front, we made it easier than ever to recognize our friendly crew of agents with several new billboards around town. We also created a short video (conveniently linked on our website) so you can get to know our agents a little better and learn more about our Brookside community.

To make our Brookside office easier to spot (especially in these shortened-sunlight days of fall and winter), we gave our 63rd Street office signage a graphic facelift and – drum roll please – powered up the backlights of the sign for the first time in 30 years! Rain or shine, if our flag is flying and our lights are on, stop on by and say “Hi!” – we’re always in the mood to meet a new friend!

Another goal for our anniversary year was to get the word out about Brookside to apartment dwellers and millennials who might not know the ins and outs of what it takes to buy a home. We thought, “What better way to educate and socialize than over an adult beverage on the back deck?” This inspired brainstorming led directly to Brookside Real Estate’s “First Time Home Buyer Happy Hours”!

Beyond sharing a beer and small bites, it was clear that first time home buyers have a lot of questionsand often wanted more knowledge about buying without a major commitment. Our goal was to answer commonly asked questions, clear up any misconceptions, lay out steps along the home-buyer timeline, and take away some of the mystery from sometimes ominous-sounding home buying terms.

The team here at Brookside Real Estate are thankful for the success we’ve experienced in 2017. Without a doubt, it wouldn’t be possible without our great clients! We welcome 2018 and we’re committed to continue to provide our new clients with the same high level of personal service, commitment and dedication that past clients have come to expect. We especially look forward to developing new relationships with even more wonderful clients in Brookside – and throughout the Kansas City community!

We wish you and your family enjoy a very Happy Holiday season and have a safe and happy New Year!

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Spotlight on Business Friends in Brookside

Brookside’s many great shops, restaurants and small businesses are an essential part of the mix that makes the Brookside neighborhood truly unique! Many of the great shops and businesses are locally owned, offering everything from delicious cuisine and great cups of coffee to one of a kind fashion finds from around the world and even a mini-fleet of pest-prohibiting bold and blue Volkswagens that are sure to put pests to rest in less than a flash. All told, Brookside is home to over 70 shops, restaurants, boutiques, offices and small businesses. We’re proud to share a few more of our favorites with you!

Carmen’s Café has been a local Brookside favorite since the Bautista brothers, Juan and Francisco, opened at 63rd and Brookside Plaza back in 1999. Carmen’s is a friendly neighborhood Italian-style bistro with a flair for Latin tapas – all served up with a nice glass of wine. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot for two, a business lunch for four – or a banquet space for a large gathering of family and friends, Carmen’s has you covered! Try their delicious chicken spiedini or steak modiga – and don’t forget to start with their signature stuffed artichoke! You can expect a warm welcome, superior customer service and some of the best Italian cuisine in the city!

Brookside Real Estate

A great cup of coffee is also easy to find in Brookside! Founded in a Brookside basement back in 1993,nobody does coffee quite like The Roasterie. Founder and Brookside neighbor Danny O’Neill picked his first batch of coffee beans in Costa Rica starting his decades long love affair with making great coffee! Fast forward to 2005 and The Roasterie in Brookside opened. Voted “Best Coffee Shop in Kansas City” by KC Magazine five times and counting, The Roasterie is just the spot to get your day started with a hot cup of one of their signature blend coffees and a bagel or pastry – or catch a mid-afternoon espresso and people watch on their outdoor patio.

Brookside Real Estate

World’s Window allows shoppers to see and buy treasures of the world – all from the heart of Brookside. An experience like no other, World’s Window is your passport to the world of great shopping. Owners Jan and Lonnie Buerge believe shopping should be fun and with World’s Window they’ve hit that mark and beyond. When you walk in, you’re immersed in colors, sounds and smells that will remind you of places way beyond Kansas City. Whether you’re looking for decor for your home, a one-of-a-kind gift for a friend, or just the experience of traveling around the world in no time at all, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at World’s Window.

Brookside Real Estate
Photo Courtesy of 435 Magazine

Not only does Brookside offer unique shopping and dining, it also boasts more than a few successful small businesses. Known by Brookside locals for their mini-fleet of Blue Beetles (over a dozen royal blue Volkswagens with a flair), Blue Beetle is your one stop shop for all things pest control. Started by Brookside resident Mitch Shipman 14 years ago, Blue Beetle services the entire KC metro and can solve anything from termite problems, mosquitoes, or bed bug treatments. The best part – their team of professional technicians are “dedicated to take care of whatever is bugging you”!

Be sure to check out any of these great businesses the next time you’re in Brookside! While you’re at it, stop by and say “Hi” to Brookside Real Estate – at 9 West 63rd Street. We’d be happy to chat with you and help you make our charming Brookside neighborhood your home too!

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Brookside Shops – Making BKS Great

There are so many reasons that we love Brookside, beyond our great residential neighbors, the charming shops and unique businesses are at the top of our list! The Brookside shopping area has everything from fine dining and superlative spirits, to fitness centers and a toy store! This time we thought we’d share 4 of our favorite neighborhood go-tos that we think you might want to visit!

  • Locally owned and operated since 1964, Brookside Toy & Science on 63rd Street has long been known as “the best toy store ever” by generations of kids in Brookside! And it’s no wonder – they’ve got everything from science kits and science fair supplies to alligator heads and skeletons! Plus, the staff are the most helpful toy experts in town. When you want to feel like a kid again – or you need just the right gift for the youngster in your life, be sure to stop by and check out an amazing toy collection like none you’ve seen before!
  • Mike’s Wine and Spirits. Specializing in a massive selection of craft beers, Mike's Liquorfine wines, and liquors, Mike’s Wine and Spirits has 3 locations in KC – and one of them is in the heart of Brookside! As a Kansas City native, owner Mike Doohan started his business in 2001. Currently living nearby in Waldo, he’s able to stay involved with the Brookside community that supports his business. Next time you’re thinking about trying out a new adult beverage, stop by Mike’s Wine and Spirits on 63rd Street – and better yet, they’ve got complimentary tastings every Friday!

Brookside Real Estate

  • Orange Theory Fitness Studio on Main Street is a gym that has easy parking, a friendly staff, bright colors and is sure to have a just the right class for your specific fitness level! One of the great things about Orange Theory Fitness is their knowledgeable fitness trainers. They’ll keep you motivated and make sure you know how to safely and most effectively use all their equipment. The best part? You can try Orange Theory out for free! All you need to do is schedule a time.
  • A former legend of Waldo has been resurrected and is better than ever on 63rd Street in Brookside: Brookside Real Estate Michael Forbes Bar and Grille. Forbes Cross and his culinary crew have served up a large and delicious menu of homemade entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 30 years in Kansas City. Fittingly, their moto is “Eat Well, Live Well” and they strive to create a “Cheers” type of neighborhood atmosphere. Be sure to stop in and try something special from their broad menu – from their yummy steaks, to fresh seafood and pasta!

Suffice to say, the Brookside neighborhood is full of charming local businesses. Bring a friend and stop in and visit any of Brookside’s dozens of quaint shops and eateries and maybe chat up a few neighbors! While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by 9 West 63rd Street – the home of Brookside Real Estate – to find out how you can make this special neighborhood your very own home!