Big Night, a dinner party essentials store, from former Infatuation Editorial Director Katherine Lewin, opened on Saturday, August 28th. The well curated shop, located at 154 Franklin Street, was built with Lewin’s close friend Erica Padgett of Decorum Design & Build. Inside are shelves dedicated to women olive oil makers, a bar cart full of chic glassware, and more. There’s also a backyard which will soon host events.
Stocking local products was important to Lewin, who has lived in Greenpoint for six years and lives around the corner from the shop. ”I’ve been struggling to come up with words for how great it is,” Lewin says of opening a business in her neighborhood. She is thrilled to open a local shop and wants Big Night to be a store for the community. The categories, like “For When U Wish U Were in Italy” are playful and speak to the shop’s mission of making entertaining more fun, whether it’s for one person or 100. Lewin said finding the space helped crystallize her vision, “It’s a smaller footprint so I had to focus on what I thought the concept should be. To me, smaller is better, I want to have a store full of things that people feel really excited about and I think the space helps.”
Currently, there are no Greenpoint made products, but they’re coming soon. Local products include mezze spreads from Lighthouse in Williamsburg, ceramics from Helen Levi of Ridgewood and Aziza Mizran of East Williamsburg and Fefo Ceramics of Bed-Stuy, Sol Cacao chocolate from the Bronx, and Omsom, which recently moved to a new Brooklyn office. Big Night also has products like Exau olive oil, and cutlery from Paris based Sabre. It’s the first East Coast store to stock Orsella cocktail cherries, from Seattle, Washington. Lewin began her career at J.Crew working as a merchant and then a copywriter, and putting together the shop, with its many signs introducing the products, was a full circle moment.
Lewin is a team of one and plans to keep it that way, “I knew I wanted to create a brick and mortar space that people could touch and feel and respond to, and to create something for the neighborhood and for the community. And I need to see how that community is responding to what’s here in the shop. People have had such good feedback, like ‘can you add this?,’ and that’s all the data I want to take with me as I continue to iterate on what’s in the store. Being the one here is super important. And on a personal note for me, what an amazing way to connect with people after a year of not really getting to do that. People are so excited and so down to chat and it’s been really lovely to do that.” The hours (currently Tuesday-Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm) are also subject to change based on customer behavior.
The idea for Big Night crystallized during Covid as Lewin was cooking more than ever before. “I, like many people, was cooking more than I ever have before and was privileged to be able to do so. In cooking these elaborate meals for me and my husband, we would sit down to eat them and I would think I really really wish we could have friends over to share this food. And I thought, I can’t be the only one who feels this way and I also can’t be the only one who can’t really remember how to cook for a group. I could sort of use a push and a help when the time came. I hope this store helps people celebrate being able to have people over safely
Lewin shared her current top picks for host gifts (she recommended three homegoods and three foods): “On the home side, the tasting spoons are such a fun gift, a great gift brings joy to everyday, they’re so beautiful. I love the one of a kind salt bowls we carry, each one is unique because they’re hand blown and hand painted, you can use it for salt or last night we had sushi and used it for soy sauce or for condiments. Cheese knives, like the ones we have from Sabre in Paris, are stunning and such an elegant gift. People don’t usually have cheese knives they’re passionate about.” For food she recommends tinned fish (there’s a whole section), a jam to serve with a cheese board (the yuzu marmalade is popular so far) and olive oil, “a universally great gift.”
For those not in Greenpoint, Lewin plans to launch ecommerce when the time is right, “But again with the brick and mortar space, I wanted to get this right for the neighborhood and community before I make that leap cause it’s a pretty big one. We’ll see what’s next.”