French Epi

Brooklyn Bistro Owner Says Far-Right Polish Pol Duped Her

More than 100 people packed into Greenpoint restaurant to hear a Polish nationalist politician speak on June 5th. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This story was originally published on 6/6/19 by THE CITY. (By: Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

A Brooklyn restaurant owner said her staff was blindsided when a Polish nationalist politician showed up with 100 followers Wednesday — spurring a backlash that may force her to permanently close.

“There was someone there who shouldn’t be and no one was expecting,” the woman, who asked not to be identified by name, told THE CITY through tears. “I don’t have nothing [to do] with this, I didn’t do anything… I don’t even agree with this.”

“We are not evil,” she added. “We didn’t do anything to bring this guy.”

Robert Winnicki, leader of the National Movement (Ruch Narodowy), a nationalist Polish political party, spoke at French Epi in Greenpoint after being barred from nearby St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

The restaurant’s manager, Jolanta Filip, said she received a reservation for 15 Wednesday night. Filip and her mother were the only two people working when a huge crowd rolled in to the small restaurant.

“In a matter of 15 minutes, we had a full house,” she said. “We weren’t prepared for this mass of people.”

More than 100 people packed into French Epi, overwhelming the staff.
More than 100 people packed into French Epi, overwhelming the staff. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Filip said she called the owner, who told her to eject Winnicki and his supporters. But the crowd — which threw out two journalists from THE CITY — wouldn’t leave.

“We are not a platform for anything,” added Filip, a single mother of three who was hoping to buy the restaurant from the recently widowed owner. Continue reading

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Op-Ed: Robert Winnicki’s Hateful Rhetoric Doesn’t Represent Polish Americans

A poster advertising Robert Winnicki’s appearances on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint this week

The following is an account from a Polish American Greenpointer who grew up in the neighborhood and whose parents are from Poland.

Where to begin about Robert Winnicki and his first trip ever to New York City?

How can I write anything positive about an obscure player in Polish politics who decided that his main role in life will be to repeat empty nationalist slogans?

As a Polish-American I think:

How do we out Winnicki as the worst type of opportunist? How do Polish Americans stop feeling angry that while he’s excited to turn his vacation into a mini-PR stunt for his own political gains that he’s also causing real harm to the Polish community here in NYC and Chicago (his next stop)? Does he realize that he’s an embarrassment to everyone living here?

When did Winnicki become interested in the American Polonia, and what has he done for us?

Is he here to endow a scholarship for an outstanding first-generation student who can’t afford to go to a private college? Is Winnicki here working with the retired Polish pensioners? Is he handing out food to the Polish homeless and visiting them in the Brooklyn shelters? Is Winnicki talking to Polish business leaders about how to fund Polish tech? Is he standing up for Polish people in court or paying for their lawyers? Is he supporting the Polish artists working in theater, fine art, design, and fashion? Did he launch an innovative project to promote Polish culture in the region? Is Winnicki curious at all who are the people working with the Polish community and has he met with them? Did he even at least visit the Polish Slavic Center?

Beyond staging a rally for — let’s be honest — himself, is Winnicki taking the time to do anything else here beyond posting videos from Central Park to his social media feeds? Is he really this self-absorbed and arrogant?

Did Winnicki just want to walk around New York City for the first time and wonder at the skyscrapers? Otherwise, what does he hope to achieve from this trip? Is there an election coming up and Winnicki is this hard up for votes back home? Does he realize that hundreds of thousands of Polish-Americans live in the Tri-state area and only around 100 showed up for his rally? Does that give him a clue as to how we feel about his platform?

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Givin’ All the Flavor Feels to French Foodies: French Epi

Grilled Whole Branzino. Image by Lindsey Johnston.

Despite the recent restaurant closures around Greenpoint Ave, French Epi at 123 Greenpoint Ave is still supplying excellently executed French cuisine to foodies on this long stretch of street between Manhattan and Franklin Ave. Both Chef Brian and owners Beata and Tomasz (who’ve been in the neighborhood for decades) are known for their perfectionist natures, marrying ridiculous specials alongside their fresh French menu. With Happy Hour specials starting at $4, and  their 3-course $15 lunch special; fresh and flavorful seasonal offerings make this a hidden gem within the ‘hood.

On the lunch menu: French Epi’s Epic Veggie Sandwich. Image by Lindsey Johnston.
Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Salad. Image by Lindsey Johnston.

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Valentine’s Date Guide: Jazz, Tapas, Rock Climbing, Painting, & LOTS of Groovy Vibes

What do Henna, Rock Climbing and eating Bibimbop have in common? They’re all ideal dates, and you can have them right here in North Brooklyn! Whether you’re looking for an elegant and lovely night out with your boo, or you’re celebrating Galentine’s with your favorite power women, here’s our roundup of places and activities that will get you out and about for the day of love.  💕

Where to eat / What to do

Valentine’s Dinners

Oregano

This Italian eatery, known for their homemade pastas plus Neapolitan-style pies, has a special prix fixe on the night of Valentine’s. Their menu includes baby lamp chops, pink beet gnocchi, tiramisu, wood-fire pizzas, and inclusive glasses of wine! It’s a full course meal at $45 for one and $80 for two. To book a table, call or email them.
Highlights: Prix Fixe (wine included), Tiramisu, Homemade Pasta

Cost: $45 for one and $80 for two
Address: 102 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (718) 599-5988
Website: oreganowilliamsburg.com
Email: Oregano

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Staying Local for Thanksgiving? Six Spots Where You Can Wobble Before You Gobble, Get Stuffed with Turkey, the Fixin’s, and More!

Thanksgiving is holiday of culinary greatness. A problem if your cooking skills are below par and you’re staying home for the Holidays. Less of a problem since you live so close to the city’s hub of crave-worthy restaurants and bars.

Here’s a list of how to feast and party without the hassle of using your oven.

1) Le Fond

A close up of the dishes featured in Le Fond's Thanksgiving MenuCome join Chef Jake Eberle at “Wobble Before You Gobble” — a Thanksgiving Eve cocktail party! Cut loose a lil’ before heading out of town. They’ll have $6 aperitif specials, including house recipe Kir Royale and warm mulled wine. Chef Jake Eberle will also being serving some bites to nibble, like country pate and a French onion soup-filled Russian-style pierog.  Reservations not necessary. See the Menu here.

Address: 105 Norman Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Cost: No cover, Items a la carte
Time: Thanksgiving Eve, 6pm
Highlights: Classy cocktails, Russian pierogi, No reservations

 

2) Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co.
Mixing it up and staying in town this year? Greenpoint Beer and Ale is hosting their 5th Annual Orphans Thanksgiving. Their new kitchen resident, @maizeysundaytacos will be a making a spicy twist on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For $65, get fed the unorthodox turkey and wash it down with included beer and wine. Then join your new “Orphan” family as you replace football with a screening of cult favorite “This Is Spinal Tap” directed by Rob Reiner. Click here to buy tickets!

Address: 7 North 15th St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Cost: $65, Buy tix
Time: 5pm
Highlights: Spicy turkey, New friends, Satirical movie about setting it “up to eleven” 
Bonus: A portion of the ticket sales go to support The Greenpoint Hunger Program

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