Bad Mother Supper, Greenpoint’s Newest Underground Supper Club

Image: Chris Setter

There’s no denying that North Brooklyn is brimming with good restaurants and great bars. It’s become undeniably easy to constantly eat at different spots and not try them all. But sometimes, you want something a bit more intimate, a new way to actually get to know your neighbors. That is, after all, what bars and restaurants are at their very core, meeting places with food and drink. Enter the supper club. “Supper clubs” have emerged as a small trend over the past few years. Small ticketed dinners, usually thrown in a restaurant’s private room or a private home large enough to handle a dinner party, where you can make new friends outside of your usual circle. At least, this is what John Bisignano is hoping will happen at his Bad Mother Supper Club dinners.

John ate work in the kitchen  Image: Bad Mother Supper Club/Instagram

John is a native Brooklynite born into a large Sicilian family. As many Italian-American Brooklyn families can tell you, this meant huge family dinners, but that isn’t how he learned to cook. Rather, he taught himself by watching his friends and their families in the kitchen, learning through their recipes. Not knowing how to “cook small,” he began entertaining friends with dinner while living in Bushwick.

Originally an artist and musician—he still does both, along with DJing around town—he explored his interest in butchery and began working as a butcher at Japan Premium Beef on Great Jones Street. Japan Premium Beef, one of the best meat shops in NYC, specializes in authentic Wagyu and Japanese-American Wagyu (Washugyu) beef. Observing how they run their secret restaurant, Bohemian, made him realize he too could pull together something more formal than impromptu dinners with friends.

Last month’s Washugyu brisket slider on homemade pretzel rolls  Image: Bad Mother Supper Club/Instagram

So John started the supper club last year to give Greenpointers a different option than our usual restaurants. Having lived in Greenpoint for 15 years, he remembers the days when our neighborhood was more of a “community” and sees this as his contribution to keeping that community going. To him, the dinners are about bringing people together and creating a bit more joy in the world, not a way to make a quick buck or the step before opening his own restaurant.

Last month’s dessert  Image: Bad Mother Supper Club/Instagram

The dinners themselves are themed, partly to help set the menu, partly to help break the ice amongst the guests. While John cooks, his girlfriend, Janene, does an excellent job of hosting everyone. The dinners are about eight full courses and with booze pairings throughout. And it’s more than enough food as each dinner takes about a full week of prep work. The meat sourced from Japan Premium Beef naturally, but those on meatless or other dietary circumstances can have a different menu. John works with a vegan and vegetarian chef to customize those courses.For now, the dinners are monthly, but the hope is to have them more often.

This month’s dinner was just announced and will probably sell out before the Monday morning rush. It’s being held on Saturday, July 22nd at 8 pm, with the theme of Godzilla. What does Godzilla mean? That this will be a fun rock n’ roll type of dinner, but John’s definitely “not serving a giant dinosaur that breathes fire.” Tickets are available here with a suggested donation of $125 per guest (this is 6 to 8 courses with cocktails) with a variety of payment options. They just ask that you give them 72 hours notice if you are going to cancel. And like a true underground club, you won’t know the location or the menu until a day or so before.

About Siobhan Wallace

Siobhan Wallace is a freelance writer & editor. She co-founded the food blog Blondie & Brownie in 2008 and co-authored "New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks" (Running Press, 2013).

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