The Brooklyn Standard has been on everyone’s lips lately and I reeked with curiosity upon interviewing Cody Utzman, chef and owner of Brooklyn Label and Papacitos. I walked in to find Shamus the chef and Trevor the helper scurry in and out of the fully stocked kitchen to making sandwiches for all to sample. I was handed a tangy and aromatic lemonade infused with rosemary and I sipped and shot photos of the anticipatory energy dashing through the shop, which opens tomorrow.
The shop markets itself as an eco-friendly, sustainability-conscious, locally supplied, vegan and vegetarian catering organic bodega planted on the dull polish laden nothingness that is Nassau Ave. It will be a haven for those like me who have been hopelessly hunting for quality coffee and egg sandwiches, vegan/vegetarian options and overall healthy tasty goods that are nowhere to be seen on this side of Greenpoint. Surely it will be a hit with locals, whether you’re that weathered Polish man in search of something non-pierogi or the weathered unemployed freelance graphic designer in search of an affordable and delicious meal.
So what can you find at BS? Your typical bodega trinkets such as cigarettes, batteries, tampons and toilet paper, alongside the bulk section rife with organic oats and granola, homemade bread and prepared goods. The menu is wide and varied supplying breakfast, lunch and dinner with options from the sandwich section, salad bar, baked goods, and hot whole meals. All ingredients are from local farms in the tri-state area, all contents organic and everything is cooked and baked in house cutting down on emissions and saving costs for garbage disposal cultivating a compost farm in the back.
I gratefully sampled a few of the sandwiches Shamus and Trevor prepared for us. They were beyond amazing. I stopped listening to all the ingredients that went into each carefully constructed sandwich and savored each bite full of wholesome vegetables with saucy spices and out of the norm concoctions.
There was a seitan french dip sandwich that Shamus served with a bowl of the soup for us to dip the sandwich in, one with avocado and red pepper, one with roasted portobello mushrooms and another with tofu in that sloppy joe style with smoky BBQ sauce that stood far and beyond being just a meat replacement sandwich.
They were all gratifyingly filling, healthy and wholesome, and full of knock out flavor. And don’t let the gourmet organic factor fool you. Everything will be priced under typical bodega standards with sandwiches costing no more than $7. I look forward to tasting more.
The philosophy behind BS is humbly utopic and Cody Utzman sets a business model that can hopefully be adapted and practiced by all. It involves tending to environmental concerns, composting and recycling waste that can save costs for the business, using biodegradable materials and working with local farmers and suppliers to fill the shelves and cut travel costs and emissions. It’s a collaborative effort that focuses on what should be the “Standard” for all businesses: sustainability, community, awareness, and affordability.