Staff and friends of Bushwick's Northeast Kingdom during their closing party, May 29 at 1am. Co-owner Paris Smeraldo is dead center behind the bar in the blue button-down shirt and his partner Meg is next to him at his left. (Photo: Nick McManus.)

Staff and friends of Bushwick’s Northeast Kingdom during their closing party, May 29 at 1am. Co-owner Paris Smeraldo is dead center behind the bar in the blue button-down shirt and his partner Meg is next to him at his left. (Photo: Nick McManus.)

Bushwick lost one of its pioneering restaurants over the weekend when Northeast Kingdom closed after more than 10 years off of the Jefferson stop. (Yes, Virginia, it opened way before there was a “Jefftown.”) In a goodbye message, owners Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke explained that they hoped to devote more time and energy to their children and their upstate farm and home (Lipke, a visual artist, will continue working from her Bushwick studio).

“My wife Meg and I opened Northeast Kingdom confident that Bushwick would grow and attract like-minded people who shared the creative, boundless vision of what the neighborhood could offer,” Smeraldo wrote. “The progress made in this community over the past decade has been such a thrill. Bushwick is a considerable feat of community-driven development. We’ve grown strong by uniting and filling the neighborhood with opportunity.”

When NY Mag first reviewed Northeast Kingdom (named after the husband-wife team’s native Vermont), Ethan Wolff noted that it catered to a young crowd that was “reflective of a new Bushwick demographic attracted by cheap rents.” A 2010 edition of Lonely Planet called the restaurant “the pioneer of rough-at-the-edges Bushwick,” and noted that it was a “neighborhood changer for good eating and drinking.” Timeout New York, in its timeline of Bushwick cool, declared, “We trace the neighborhood’s transformation since game changer Northeast Kingdom opened eight years ago.”

There was a more intimate gathering in the basement, where everyone drank champagne and braided each other's hair. (Photo: Nick McManus)

There was a more intimate gathering in the basement, where everyone drank champagne and braided each other’s hair. (Photo: Nick McManus)

After serving the last of its beloved burgers on Saturday, the farm-to-table standby threw a party for staff and friends. Photographer Nick McManus, who took the shots above, told us, “Everybody there was sad to see Northeast Kingdom go but still so happy they had the chance to know owners Paris and Meg. You couldn’t keep up with all nice things said about them and when we took the portrait they were ecstatic to see themselves with so many folks they loved.”

Meanwhile, the Bushwick brunch bunch is in mourning.