Fin Du Monde (38 Driggs Ave.) is a cozy and casual neighborhood bistro with romantic old-school vibes. Owners Mona Poor-Olschafskie and Christian Perkins opened the restaurant in December 2020 during the height of the pandemic and told Greenpointers they were “really proud” to make it to their two year anniversary this past December.
Despite the apocalyptic name, Fin Du Monde is nowhere near the end of its stay in Greenpoint. The restaurant did close for two months in January and February but recently reopened on March 10 with a renovated kitchen, larger menu, extended hours, and more staff.
The co-owners do everything together, from renovations to coming up with the menu. Greenpointers spoke with the pair about Fin Du Monde’s success during tough times, their love for Greenpoint, and their other favorite spots in the neighborhood.
Greenpointers: You opened Fin Du Monde during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and celebrated your two-year anniversary recently. What do you think are the key factors that contributed to your success?
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: We opened unknowingly between two of the dining shutdowns. Though we started with more people, we had to let them go, so it was just the two of us.
Christian Perkins: We had a friend cooking for us for a few months, but then he left and it was just us. There were no dishwashers or servers. We did what we had to to survive. We had to control costs and weather the storm.
The other big thing that led to our success was our neighborhood. The part of Greenpoint we are in, near McGolrick Park, is an awesome community. It’s very vibrant. People started to support us by showing up. We have a great community of regular customers. Their support over the last two years has helped us establish our footing and help us to succeed.
Now that we reopened, new people come in, but those same people who live on the block still come in regularly. They are the backbone of our success.
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: When we opened, we had a small Go Fund Me, but no loans and no investors. We didn’t get any PPE or relief from the government. Our only option was to keep our heads down and keep going.
To echo what Christian said, without people coming in the door, getting takeout, and eating outside in January, we wouldn’t have made it.
Greenpointers: Fin Du Monde closed for two months to renovate the space and make the menu closer to your original vision. Tell us about the new features.
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: As we said, we opened during Covid with very little money. There were cosmetic things and equipment we could not afford. After two years of being more successful, we are in financial position to do more. We wanted to do a larger menu and hire more people.
Christian Perkins: Cosmetically, we put in a new ceiling and basically a full new kitchen. Now, we have a burger, which is something we always wanted to do. It’s more like a steakhouse burger. Smash burgers are popular now, but I think pub burgers are prime for a comeback.
We have a true $1 oyster happy hour. It’s getting increasingly hard to find. Every day of the week we are open, which is Tuesday through Saturday, 5 -7 p.m., we do $1 Wellfleet oysters. We also offer lower price shrimp cocktail and French fries. Mona grew up in Cape Cod. We wanted to emulate that Cape Cod style of a raw bar.
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: We’ve always had strong seafood focus. It was important to us to expand that to raw bar, and also to have a burger. We wanted to expand who would be interested in coming to the restaurant. Our portions are large for New York standards. A big part of vibe is old school.
Christian Perkins: We are not a shared plates tasting menu restaurant.
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: We want people to leave feeling full, feeling like they got their money’s worth. We did keep favorites on the menu, like French onion soup. We’ve always rotated the menu. Each week, a large portion will change.
Christian Perkins: It will be a bit still, but brunch is the next goal. People in the neighborhood are eager for it and we want to do it. That will be the next big thing.
Greenpointers: What made you decide to open your restaurant in Greenpoint? Are you locals?
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: Yes, we both live in Greenpoint!
We loved the space. It is on a corner with big windows and a wonderful landlord. We love all places in our neighborhood and go to them often.
Christian Perkins: We wanted to open a place we would want to go to. The vision was always to be in a part of neighborhood where we contributed. We had the option to open on busy stretches of Manhattan and Franklin and Nassau. There were open spaces there. But this little guy on Driggs and Sutton spoke to us. It was in our price range, but also it was in a less populated part, and we could offer something to them.
Greenpointers: The restaurant’s name translates to “end of the world” in French. How did you decide on this name?
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: A lot of people ask that. We started this project in early 2019 before the pandemic. For us, it’s a place rather than an event. It has a lot to do with where we are. We are a bright light on a corner, sometimes it feels like we are at the end of the world.
Also, it is a French name, but we are not a French restaurant. We do have French-inspired dishes. We like the French name because it has old-school connotations. It has a romantic vibe.
Christian Perkins: When we kicked around names, I loved the idea of putting a French name on something that is not a French restaurant. It is about a sense of time and place. So many restaurants in the city used to have French or Italian names.
Greenpointers: You both are restaurant industry veterans. Where did you work before you opened Fin Du Monde?
Christian Perkins: I’ve been cooking in New York for 14 years. I was at the original Torrisi Italian specialities on Mulberry. Most of my experience was at Diner (85 Broadway) and Marlow and Sons (81 Broadway). I was also a butcher at Marlow and Daughters (95 Broadway).
I was the chef at Annika in Greenpoint when it was open in 2018. That was the last place before we opened our place.
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: I have a craft beer background. I worked at Threes Brewing (113 Franklin St.) and the Other Half (34 River St.) briefly.
Greenpointers: Do you have any favorite restaurants in North Brooklyn other than Fin Du Monde?
Christian Perkins: Bamonte’s (32 Withers St.) is our favorite. We go to Sapporo Ichiban (622 Manhattan Ave.) a lot. That’s where we eat the most. Also, I want to shout out Tom and Joan’s (437 Graham Ave.).
Mona Poor-Olschafskie: Also want to shout out Capri Social Club (156 Calyer St.).
Christian Perkins: We like the Temkin’s (155 Greenpoint Ave.) guys a lot too. Their new place H & H (519 Metropolitan Ave.) is very cool.
Savino’s (111 Conselyea St.) is a really special multi-generational old school pasta shop with incredible fresh pasta. We get out fresh pasta from them, as do other spots in hood.
Bravo, Mona and Christian! Congrats on your great success!!
Love this restaurant and these owners! The neighborhood has tremendous appreciation for them.
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