When you visit Eugene & Co.‘s website, you’ll find: “An honest and organic restaurant & bar in Bed-Stuy.” That’s a big promise from first-time restaurant owner Tara Oxley.
“I feel like today there’s a gross overuse of ‘it’s green’ and ‘everything’s organic.’ I think that should just be how places run,” Oxley tells the Voice. “More than anything, I want the family and community I’m building here to trust that we believe in what we’re doing, that we believe in our farmers and the quality of our food. We believe less means more, we use fewer but better ingredients. That’s what honesty means to me — that people can trust us.”
That mantra of trust has been a centering ideal for Oxley.
Oxley moved to Bed-Stuy in 2010 and quickly recognized that the area had an opening for a restaurant serving healthy, thoughtful food. She also realized that beloved businesses that had been open for decades thrived because of support from the surrounding community.
So Oxley invested in becoming a member of that community. She lives a less-than-three-minute walk from her restaurant. She’s a board member of the local YMCA. She might not leave her area for weeks on end. “I’m not just coming in and dropping a business and not being a part of the community,” she says. “I want to be kneaded in, like egg into bread dough.” In a restaurant, of course, that starts with the food you serve.
At Tompkins Avenue Merchant Association (TAMA), we are proud to have our members receive the following press recognition for their service, products and other contributions they may have given to their community.
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News and Reviews for Tompkins Avenue Merchant Association (TAMA)
Eugene & Co. owner Tara Oxley
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As Bed-Stuy Changes, So Does Its Taste for Wine and Beer
Bed-Vyne Brew brought craft beer to Bed-Stuy before it was hip among the area's changing demographics
by Charlie Innis August 1, 2019 in Bedford Stuyvesant, Business & Innovation, Featured News, Popular
Bed-Vyne owner Michael Brooks remembers when people didn’t believe in him.
He had a unique business idea for Bed-Stuy, where he’d lived since 2007. At the center of the neighborhood once known as “do or die,” he would sell wine and craft beer, featuring rotating drafts from local breweries with prices upwards of $7. No Coors Light in sight.
“When we first opened this place, people thought we were crazy,” said Brooks. “They were like, ‘black people don’t drink craft beer.’”
When Brooks opened Bed-Vyne Brew at 370 Tompkins Ave in 2013, he confounded the neighborhood’s expectations: It’s one of the only black-owned businesses on the block that turns out a diverse, passionate crowd and supports the local community through block parties and charity engagements. On weekends, Brew’s DJ sets attract hundreds, and regulars stop by the bar daily for its 10 beers on tap, with styles ranging from saison to triple IPA.
Brew is the second branch of Bed-Vyne’s three-business mini-empire, which includes Bed-Vyne Cocktail and Bed-Vyne Wine, and was co-founded by fellow Brooklynites Rotimi and Ayo Akinnuoye and Peter Medford.
Before launching Bed-Vyne, Brooks worked in sales for pharmaceutical companies. His major takeaway from marketing drugs was the importance of knowing your product, an insight he took with him to his first wine shop, 65 Fen in Lefferts Garden, and then also to Bed-Vyne Wine which opened its doors in 2011.
Noticing a range of young people moving into Bed-Stuy at that time, he sensed a need for a local wine shop so they could buy quality drinks without commuting to Manhattan.
Brooks approaches wine sales in the manner of a trusted confidant. He arranges product by taste, rather than by region, and classifies reds and whites into 12 flavor categories. He wants people to simply pick what they like and develop their palate.
“That way if they go somewhere else, whether to a restaurant or on vacation, they’ll be able to describe what they want,” he said.
This approach guided his plans for Brew when locals told him they wanted a “watering hole” to go to after work.
How Does She Do It: Kai Avent-DeLeon Of Sincerely Tommy
by Amber and Tiffany Davis
Brooklyn-born boutique owner Kai Avent-deLeon has a knack for spotting (and jumping on) creative opportunities ahead of the pack. She not only recognized and championed the desirability of the not-quite-gentrified Bed-Stuy community where she set up her shop, Sincerely Tommy, three years ago, but she also steadily cultivated and cross-promoted young designers alongside a circle of other female creatives long before any of the lady-themed hashtags took hold.
Her journey is one that continues to unfold: Sincerely Tommy recently launched an in-house fashion line on top of selling curated third-party goods, housing on-site snack counter St. Coffee, and hosting drawing nights and community awareness chats.
We grabbed a chat to talk work, life, and weaving it all together.
The Founder of Sincerely, Tommy Has the Cool New York Wardrobe We’ve Always Wanted
Kai Avent-deLeon on running a successful business, her slip dress obsession, and why she understands the power of a good shoe. New York.
By: Hannah Baxter
Styling: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Alec Kugler
It’s been four years since we last checked in with Kai Avent-deLeon, and *a lot* has happened since then. The Sincerely, Tommy founder moved into a new brownstone apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, just a stone’s throw from her mother and grandmother, and she and her husband welcomed an adorable baby boy, Ché, right before the new year. Plus, her fashion concept store is bigger and more successful than ever. You know, just a few important life milestones.
When we stop by her home, we’re excited to find that her sense of style is more defined than ever, with plenty of silk slip dresses, biker jackets, and Isabel Marant python boots (she’s quite the shoe collector). The New York native was quick to remind us why this city is home to some of the best style on the planet. “You have to have a very strong sense of who you are because it is a competitive city,” she explains after slipping into a pair of thigh-high Celine boots and a white Simonett dress. “There are so many creatives here, and there’s just a certain level of cool that you have if you’re from New York. It’s just effortless.”
If you can't take the heat, get out of the restaurant.
Bed-Stuy Southern food joint Peaches HotHouse boasts the spiciest fried chicken in New York City.
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With a sweet and crispy skin, the extra-hot "Nashville Style Hothouse Chicken" costs $12 and comes with a side of pickles, egg bread and a warning that reads: "Caution! Hot Is Extremely Spicy!"
"The extra-hot chicken will kick you in your face and make you cry," promises co-owner Ben Grossman, 39. "There's a line where spicy is too much, and this chicken crosses that line."
But some folks like a little pain with their chicken.
"People come in all the time and want the extra-hot chicken," says Craig Samuels, 41, the other owner of Peaches HotHouse, which has been open since May. "They say they can handle it because they are from Jamaica or Africa or Haiti or wherever. But I don't care where you are from. It's hot."
Co-owner Ben Grossman tries some of the Nashville Style Hothouse Chicken. (Rosier/News)
So hot, in fact, that the restaurant keeps a jug of milk in the kitchen and waitress Maggie Herskovits has developed a routine when taking hot chicken orders.
"I feel it is my responsibility to warn customers about how spicy the chicken is," says the 25-year-old. "Sometimes guys are just trying to impress their dates, but you can't do that if you're crying."
Herskovits' advice to those who can't handle the heat: "Take off the skin. That's where most of the spiciness is."
Grossman and Samuels got the idea to serve their spicy concoction after a trip to Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, long considered the inventor of the sub-genre of fried chicken now known as Nashville Hot Chicken.
According to Grossman, Prince's recipe was initially meant to exact revenge on a philandering boyfriend, but the plan backfired when the wayward target turned out to actually like the chicken.
Neither Grossman nor Samuels will reveal their recipe, except to say that they don't cook it ahead of time and they use the world's hottest pepper, the ghost chili, which is very apparent to anyone who has tried a piece.
(Note: This reporter cried like a baby after three bites.)
Of course, there are other options at Peaches HotHouse for those who would prefer not to sweat through their meal. A mild version of the fried chicken is available, and the jumbo lump meat low country rice bowl is pain-free and delicious.
But for New Yorkers who enjoy a challenge or just love the feeling of a burning tongue, the extra-hot fried chicken is the way to go.
Just be sure to follow Grossman's advice.
"Whatever you do," he says, "don't rub your eyes."
Peaches HotHouse co-owners, Craig Samuels ( l.) and Ben Grossman
hold up the Nashville-Style Extra-Hot Chicken. (Rosier/News)
Peaches HotHouse boasts spiciest fried chicken in New York City
By Jacob E. Osterhout
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER |
Dec 06, 2010 | 4:00 AM
By Yolanda Sangweni · May 14, 2018
ESSENCE’s “Boutique Boss” highlights dynamic Black women entrepreneurs who are independent shop owners helping to create more opportunities to #BuyBlack and #ShopSmall. Meet Achuziam Maha-Sanchez, owner of peace & RIOT, a home decor and interior design shop located in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in Brooklyn to a West Indian mom and Nigerian father, Maha-Sanchez studied Business Merchandise Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). After graduation, she dabbled in fashion, working for the likes of legendary backstage management CEO Audrey Smaltz dressing models for fashion shows and then as wardrobe supervisor for Alvin Ailey Ensemble. She started working at Seborn Ragsdale Interiors and was mentored by founder, Seborn Ragsdale, who introduced her to the world of interior design. ‘He brought me to High Point, North Carolina to learn how furniture is made [and showed] me how to shop the Design and Decoration building which is only to the trade,” Maha-Sanchez told ESSENCE. “Next thing I knew I was his design assistant. Finally, he gave me wings when he assigned me a 2-bedroom apartment project on Central Park. The money from that job is what funded the build out of peace + RIOT.”
Boutique Boss: This Super Chic Brooklyn Home Design Shop Is Powered By Black Girl
Adams gearing up for Small Business Saturday with #BLKOFFEEINBK tour
November 21, 2018 By Todd Maisel Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Getting ahead of tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday, Borough President Eric Adams spent Tuesday visiting black-owned cafes, part of his #BLKCoffeeInBK campaign. Here, he visits Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen, owned by Myriam Nicolas (left). Eagle photo by Todd Maisel
As Brooklynites are gearing up for Black Friday sales in big box stores, Borough President Eric Adams revived his #BLKCoffeeInBK tour to promote Small Business Saturday.
On Tuesday, Adams kicked off the tour by spotlighting Myriam Nicolas, a longtime Bedford-Stuyvesant resident and the owner of two businesses in the iconic neighborhood.
“Small shops are part of the fiber of the community providing food, pastries and coffee, and we want the community to not overlook them,” Adams said. “Myriam not only works, but lives here in Bedford-Stuyvesant, so what is better than a local shop that then circulates the dollars?”
Adams visited Nicolas’ Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen on Tompkins Avenue, which opened last year. The coffee shop is located within walking distance of her inaugural entrepreneurial business, Brooklyn Baby Cakes, which opened in 2012 on Nostrand Avenue.
Nicolas said the cafe was originally slated to be another bakery, but then she decided to go in another direction and serve more than just coffee, but also homestyle baked goods, sandwiches and hot meals. The new cafe still features grab-and-go items, but also has indoor seating and a backyard with picnic tables.
“There has been such a huge influx of businesses here,” said Nicolas. “I’ve lived in Bed-Stuy almost 18 years now, and I’ve definitely, definitely seen the change with lots of small businesses opening up. It’s a welcoming change.”
Adams said many of the new coffee shops are struggling, while larger chains have multimillion-dollar budgets for advertising.
In May, Adams emphasized the need to patronize “mom-and-pop” business, especially black-owned coffee shops, with the social media hashtag #BLKCoffeeInBK. During that tour, Adams visited vegan businesses Sol Sips on Wilson Avenue, Sophia & Grace Cookie Company on Ralph Avenue and a boutique cafe, Urban Vintage on Grand Avenue.
This year marks a decade since the Bush Doctor, a family owned juice bar, opened in Bed Stuy. Their specialty is homemade ginger beer, ginger coffee and ginger hot coco. Ginger is a natural remedy known for lowering cholesterol and treating ailments such as nausea and joint pain. The juice bar also offers other healthy food options like organic veggie burgers and air fried sweet potato fries. Recently the Bush Doctor teamed up with Maureen Medina, a health coach, to offer a trio of "Healing through Nutrition" seminars. The first of which was held in March.
Speaking after the seminar, Medina said that she has seen first hand the healing benefits of food. Due to a heart condition, before the age of 25 Medina survived two open heart surgeries. While the surgeries were a success, Medina said she still suffered from migraines and other health conditions. The headaches were so severe that the glare from sunlight streaming through a window would cause debilitating pain. That is until for ethical reasons she decided to adopt a plant based lifestyle where she was only eating fruits, vegetables and grains. Medina said it didn't take long for her to notice the health benefits. The headaches just disappeared. "One day I thought about it and I couldn't remember the last time I had a headache," she said. This was three years ago. Today Medina is an advocate for plant based eating through her coaching practice called "Live Instead."
For the seminar attendees, Medina prepared a complimentary vegan meal with baked potatoes, fresh red cabbage topped with dressing made from pureed carrots, sesame oil, rice vinegar and a dash of brown sugar. Medina, who describes herself as a "foodie," says she has no "cheat" days where she indulges in meat dishes from her former lifestyle. She says when she gets a taste for barbeque, she replicates the taste with a vegan dish. "You should enjoy every meal," she said and noted that a food processor makes preparing vegan meals much easier.
Learning how to put together a healthy meal is indispensable. According to the Brooklyn Community Health Needs Assessment Report, Brooklyn residents experience high rates of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression and other illnesses. Lack of a proper diet contributes to many of these preventable diseases. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, adopted a vegan diet after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016. Adams told Edible Brooklyn that he discovered through a consultation with a physician and his own research that a plant-based diet can actually reverse chronic health conditions and improve overall health.
Adams said that he is a very disciplined and had little trouble adjusting to a vegan diet after just a few weeks. Many others struggle to give up lifelong eating habits. Medina said that as a health coach she does not dictate restrictions to the individuals she works with, rather she encourages behavior modification and what she refers to as "crowding out." For example if you love to eat two cheese burgers for a meal, Medina suggests starting the meal with fruits and vegetables, chances are you won't want that second cheeseburger. Then graduate to one plant based meal per day.
"We make hundreds of decisions a day," said Medina. "You can always choose. Choose life."
Medina is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Tiecha Merritt, owner of the Bush Doctor said that the juice bar's "One Day Juice Cleanse" which consists of 7 healthy drinks, will now include a consultation session with Medina at a reduced rate.
The second "Healing Through Nutrition" seminar will be held on April 15.
For more information visit http://www.thebushdoctor.net/
*Photo of Tiecha Merritt and Maureen Medina courtesy of Yaw Aboagye
Bush Doctor offering
"Healing through Nutrition"
Seminars in 2018
Brooklyn residents experience high rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Experts say food can heal.
By Leah Mullen, Patch Contributor
Apr 6, 2018 3:26 pm ET
take home is made by Jeff Shields, the chef at Eugene & Company: Chicky’s, 406 Tompkins Avenue (Hancock Street), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, 718-975-7646.