The meat master behind Red Hook destination Hometown Bar-B-Que is opening another restaurant — this time, a Jewish deli-inspired sandwich shop in Sunset Park with pastrami, corned beef, and other classics of the genre that will be smoked in-house.
Billy Durney, who’s risen to national fame for his deft barbecue hand, will be opening the 1,200-square-foot restaurant adjacent to a new commissary space and event space in Industry City. He’ll likely call it something like Hometown Deli, Hometown Brooklyn Deli, or Hometown Hand-Carved Deli, he says.
Industry City asked Durney if he wanted to bring another barbecue restaurant to the growing complex, but he doesn’t want to duplicate the restaurant where he made his name, he says. Instead, the Brooklyn native will be doing his take on the old-school Jewish deli sandwiches that “have always been a huge part of my upbringing,” he says.
Expect a simple menu with about ten sandwiches, such pastrami, corned beef, French dip with dry-aged ribeye, egg salad, and chicken salad. Bread will come from local Jewish bakeries, and Durney will be smoking all the meat himself, he says.
About two meat carvers will man a deli counter, inspired by places like Katz’s where people carve meat to order in front of guests, and eventually, both indoor and outdoor seats will be available with some views of the carving. “It’s my tribute to the perfect New York sandwich,” he says.
Durney is currently expecting to open it in March, around the same time that his long-ruminating Red Hook restaurant Hometown Fried Chicken, the Industry City commissary, and corresponding event space will open. The commissary will make sides for all the Hometown restaurants, and the event space will sport the same look as Hometown Barbecue, with plans to host public events when it’s not being used for private parties.
It’s a big win for Industry City, which has been beefing up its food offerings like crazy. A Japanese version of Eataly is making its way to the former warehouse spaces, and gourmet food company Brooklyn Kitchen has also moved there. It also has a food hall with Kotti Berliner Doner Kebab, Avocaderia, Yaso Tangbao, One Girl Cookies, and Colson Patisserie.
But as part of the expansion, Staten Island will no longer be getting a restaurant with Durney’s touch. The pitmaster has ended his involvement with Surf BBQ & Grill on the Stapleton Waterfront, saying that he wanted to invest his time in the Hometown brands. “I really just want to keep hyper-focused on this, which means so much to me,” he says.
Durney opened Hometown in Red Hook in 2013, and his New York-inspired, Texas-style barbecue restaurant has quickly become one of New York’s most famous dining destinations. He’s become respected nationally across the barbecue world and has been cited as the prime example of what New York City barbecue can be. Even though Red Hook is a bit of a trek via public transit for many New Yorkers, the restaurant is regularly packed with long lines of people waiting for beef rib and brisket.
“I was lucky here in Hometown,” Durney says. “We’ve had so much success that it’s allowing me to spread my wings and come up with other alternatives to people’s dining that I can try to make great, too.”