Part of a nonprofit training center, the first full-service restaurant to open in Brownsville in decades is on track to debut sometime in August as part of Brownsville Community Culinary Center. The New York Times refers to as an “anti-gentrification restaurant.”
The first U.S. location from The Melting Pot Foundation founded by Claus Meyer will teach neighborhood locals in their 20s and 30s cooking skills in a 40-week program. All profits return to BCCC efforts.
Expect food that’s “inspired by the culinary traditions of the African diaspora,” with dishes developed with residents and Brownsville seniors, according to the website. Though details for the restaurant are still in the works, it will most likely be a sit-down spot, a spokesperson tells Eater and it will offer a 50 percent discount to people on SNAP, the government food assistance program that used to be referred to as food stamps. The restaurant will most likely be open for breakfast through the early evening, and on Sundays, there will be a family-style daytime meal.
BCCC aligns with The Melting Pot Foundation’s philanthropic work in Denmark, where the group trains former prisoners in kitchen skills. Meyer and The Melting Pot are also involved in Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia, the ambitious restaurant connected to a program that teaches cooking to disadvantage youth.
Meyer, the Michelin-starred Danish chef, steers several for-profit restaurants in New York, including The Great Northern Food Hall and Agern in Grand Central, a coffee roaster, a program to get children to eat at Michelin-starred restaurants, a Williamsburg bakery, and an all-day Nordic cafe sponsored by BMW Mini.
As to why the Times calls The Brownsville Community Culinary Center an anti-gentrification spot. Early on, The Melting Pot Foundation “realized that student success would depend on what sort of support could be provided to people whose lives were constrained first by the immediate challenges of poverty, then by the ancillary demands of the city agencies, courts and social-service organizations with which the poor constantly interact.” Two social workers have been hired to help.
Most recently the staff is recovering from a tragedy before the center has opened with the murder of one of the trainees.
Back in October of last year, Meyer said that opening restaurants in New York delivered layers of challenges he could not have predicted — and that was before Agern shuttered and reopened after a flood. “I have been in the restaurant business for 30 years,” he told Grub Street. “I’ve never experienced anything like it.”