There’s been a slight change in Red Hook meat star Billy Durney’s new neighborhood fried chicken restaurant. After more than two years of delays, the man behind barbecue hit Hometown has decided to make his sophomore restaurant a tavern — an old school-style place inspired by Corner Bistro, still serving fried chicken but with the addition of a burger and natural wine.
The restaurant at 329 Van Brunt St., at Sullivan Street, will now be called either Hometown Tavern or Red Hook Tavern, and instead of a take-out focus, it will now be full-service. The front door’s made of white oak, and Durney commissioned a white oak bar for the inside, too. The goal, he says, is to build “a cozy place” that evokes the feeling of being in places like Corner Bistro or McSorley’s Old Ale House.
“Corner Bistro has romantic sentimental feelings for me for many, many, many years. That and McSorley’s Old Ale House,” Durney says. “All of those places do one thing the best you can possibly do it. Those are the atmospheres I like drinking in and I like hanging out in.”
In the spirit of keeping things simple, the menu will be more limited than originally planned. The only proteins will be fried chicken and a dry-aged pub burger with American cheese, the latter an homage to the famed Peter Luger Steak House one. Biscuits will still be on deck, as will six or so sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, and a mixed green salad with a house dressing. Pies, too, will be available.
Six beers will be on tap, and Durney’s particularly psyched for a natural wine program at the restaurant. “It’s literally my favorite hobby,” he says of natural wine. At least six wines will be available, including orange ones. “[It’s] a place to hang your hat in the wintertime, a cozy place where you can have your glass of wine and favorite cocktails, he says.
This will be Durney’s second restaurant, but the pitmaster and chef also has a project slated for Industry City later this fall, an event space and a deli inspired by Jewish ones in Brooklyn. Those are on track to open before the end of the year as well.
Since opening Hometown in 2013, the Brooklyn native has gained wide acclaim for his version of barbecue, which very much pulls from the broad range of cuisines available in the borough. The casual, counter-service Hometown Barbecue, one of New York’s essential restaurants, remains crowded regularly, with lines snaking down the block in the summer. It’s helped turned Red Hook into a dining destination.
The fried chicken restaurant has faced a bunch of construction hiccups, including after an expeditor working on the project was suddenly banned by the city. But Durney says it should be opening in October. Stay tuned for more.