1. So you’re the owner of famed Breukelen Coffee House on Franklin Avenue. What’s your story?
I’m Frank Warren. I’m originally from Jamaica, Queens. I went to Hampton University, a historic black college in Virginia. I always wanted to work for myself. Then in 2007 I got the idea to do a coffee shop.
2. And now Breukelen Coffee House serves delicious Stumptown coffee seven days a week! What’s the deal with Breukelen Brasserie?
I felt ready for another project. I noticed this place was for rent - was on my bike and I just stopped super quick, called the number and the landlord, Mike, he’s been at Breukelen Coffee House a ton of times. He knew who I was.
A bit later, I had just gotten the keys to this place and our chef, Jonathan Boe, and I were sitting on some sheetrock. We were like, so what do we want to do? And he said, you know Paris, right? You know brasseries? Why don’t we do a brasserie concept? This was like Monday and then we ended up leaving for Paris like Friday! We went to Chateaubriand, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Then we went to all the brasseries. In Paris they were all over the place. They’re like diners. “Brasserie” technically means beer house.
3. So then you felt that this is what you had to do. What do you serve?
Our coffee game is strong, we serve Stumptown coffee. We have a good liquor selection, we serve 50 different wines. The one thing that Europe has on the States is the simplicity of the food. Some good ass tomatoes and all of a sudden you have good ass bolognese. That’s the approach we really want to take here.
(Chef Jonathan Boe: We’re doing very traditional French dishes - right now we’re doing salads and tartines. Ratatouille, pate, escargot. Eventually we’ll be doing breakfast, lunch and dinner.)
4. What’s the vibe here?
So the vibe here is sexy. We want to appeal more to the feminine aesthetic. It’s just wood, warm, white, bright. I really wanted to take advantage of the windows.
5. What are you most excited about for the Breukelen Brasserie?
The other night people were here toasting and just chillin’ and laughin’... That’s what I want. People just make the place come alive. They’ll meet their significant others here, they’ll go on dates here. They’ll have birthday parties and celebrations here… People will break up here. People will live a little bit of their lives here. And that’s what I do. It’s funny to say that but I think that’s what I do… I almost got a little emotional there.
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