Leroy’s (195 Franklin St.), a charming neighborhood bistro on a quiet corner in the northern part of Greenpoint, serves brunch and dinner classics from Michelin-trained chefs Bobby Little and Chad Urban.
Little and Urban worked together at prominent New York City restaurants and opened their own catering company before crossing the bridge and opening up their first spot in Brooklyn.
Though it’s only been open a little less than a year, Leroy’s has become a neighborhood staple for locals looking for a burger or fried chicken sandwich fix. Even their chocolate chip cookies have a following. Other popular dinner menu items include the Scotch egg and beef tartare, while the brunch menu features biscuits and gravy and stuffed French toast.
Greenpointers spoke with chefs Little and Urban about their backgrounds, their favorite food at Leroy’s, and their go-to locations in North Brooklyn.
Greenpointers: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up in the restaurant industry.
Chef Bobby Little: I’m from Kentucky. I got a job at a restaurant there, but I didn’t always think I’d continue in the industry. After a while, I thought having a restaurant would be a great way to own my own business. I ended up moving to California for a six-month culinary school program. Back home in Kentucky, there weren’t too many options for culinary school, and there was definitely no Michelin track.
Chef Chad Urban: I grew up in Midwest, and then moved to Cape Cod. But I was in the opposite field of Bob. Growing up, I worked in warehouses and construction. I dropped out of college, wound up on Cape Cod, and got a job from a chef who had just left NYC. Then I went to the Culinary Institute.
Greenpointers: Where did you work before opening Leroy’s?
Chef Little: When I got to New York, I worked at Marc Forgione in Tribeca. It was different there. They liked extra hands and let me work a lot. After that, I worked at Ai Fiori, which is where I met Chad. I got a job at Batard right after they opened. It was awesome to be a part of that team as they opened.
Chad and I also own a catering company called Little Urban Foods. We wanted to open a restaurant together and thought we found a place in 2017, but it didn’t work out and we had to pay off our small business loan, so we started the catering company.
Greenpointers: You guys have both worked at top Manhattan restaurants. How do you think those spots differ from restaurants in North Brooklyn?
Chef Little: Working in Brooklyn is nice because you get to operate at a high level, but in a more laid-back atmosphere. Sometimes all I want is good food in a relaxed environment, and we can offer that at Leroy’s.
Greenpointers: What made you decide to make the move to Greenpoint? Did anything specific draw you to the neighborhood?
Chef Little: I live in Greenpoint, and I love the neighborhood! I found an apartment four years ago, and it’s been great. I learned that Greenpoint people stay local. So, we decided to open Leroy’s here.
Greenpointers: Has Greenpoint lived up to your expectations?
Chef Little: We love everyone who comes in, and have a great group of regulars. Omicron hit a little after we opened, and that hit us a bit, but now we are back to pre-Omicron levels.
Chef Urban: At Leroy’s, we are front facing. People in Greenpoint love to chat and see how you’re doing. And I agree that it is really great having a strong group of regulars. We have people you see every other week or once a month, and that’s cool.
Greenpointers: There are so many outstanding restaurants in Greenpoint. What do out think makes Leroy’s stand out?
Chef Little: Our goal is to complement the neighborhood, and to give the steadfast option that is always open. We want people to relax and enjoy themselves without too much pretense.
Greenpointers: Currently, what is your favorite thing on the menu at Leroy’s?
Chef Little: We change the menu frequently, and we get in trouble for switching things up sometimes. We try to have fun with it. My favorite thing on the menu is the hot chicken sandwich, for sure.
Chef Urban: The hot chicken sandwich is my favorite, as well. I eat a few too many of those a week.
We are gearing up for a change now that it’s almost fall. We’ll be focusing on warmer options, like the French onion soup. I think people are excited for that.
Greenpointers: Do you have a favorite restaurant in North Brooklyn aside from Leroy’s?
Chef Little: We often go to Leo in Williamsburg. I like Santa Fe a lot too. In Greenpoint, I go to Elder Greene a lot.
Chef Urban: I live on the Upper East Side, not in Greenpoint, like Bobby. But when I’m here in the neighborhood, I like going to Elder Greene too. It’s great for relaxing and having a beer. I also like its next door neighbor, Vamos Al Tequila.
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