Besides the McGolrick Park Greenmarket, what’s your favorite thing about Greenpoint?
My favorite thing about Greenpoint is that it has maintained its community and identity over the years, while also adding on some great new places to hang out. The two-story row houses with kids playing outside on the sidewalk remind me of where I grew up in Bensonhurst, and it’s comforting to me that there are still places in New York City like that.
What’s the best part about being a local food purveyer?Without question, it’s the community of people in and around this crazy business of local food production and manufacturing. As fellow business owners and friends, it’s like family. We commiserate about our struggles, and we share each others’ successes. As members of the community we live and work in, we get to know our customers, and they become part of the family as well.
What’s your biggest challenge as a local food purveyer?
Our biggest challenge is meeting customer requests for products we don’t make anymore. Every week, it’s something like, “Hey, do you guys have that Pork Sausage with Sour Cherries that you made that one time?” And it breaks my heart to say “no” if we don’t have it. I think we made that sausage for two weeks back in 2011. We hate to disappoint loyal customers by not having what they ask for, but as a small food producer, it’s challenging to make so many different products. We already make about 20 different ones. The positive takeaway is that lots of people fondly remember things we’ve made in the past, and we like to think they really dig our sausage stylings.
Is there anything that you find yourself saying regularly that keeps you motivated or staying positive?
Something I always catch myself saying (and doing) is “having a laugh.” My good friend Gregory Marchand of Frenchie fame in Paris would say it a lot when we worked at Gramercy Tavern together. After dinner service, he’d be like, “Hey lads, are we going to have a laugh?,” meaning a drink (or many drinks) at the bar. I’ve always been a class clown at heart, whether it was in high school, or in any of the kitchens I’ve ever worked in. It’s only food; we’re not saving lives, or anything. If you’re not laughing, you’re probably taking things a bit too seriously.
What’s your favorite product you produce? And why?
Our New York Style Hot Dogs, because they update a core food that is the essence of this city. We take pride in our snappy casings, all-beef blend, and freshly ground spices that are quite a bit different than most other hot dogs you can share with your family and friends. They’ve also been called the Platonic ideal of a wiener. By me, anyway. Just trust me on this one. They can go toe-to-toe with any dog out there.
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Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg