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Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue has been slinging good, classic barbecue in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood since 2012. Since that time, its original location has maintained a consistent presence at BBQ events and opened a small location in Dekalb Market Hall, as well as summer pop-ups in the Rockaways.
But last May, the original 3rd Avenue location quietly closed its doors with little explanation. In fact, it was because the owners decided summer and early fall was best time to make some big changes to the build of the restaurant, the scope of its menu, and to its operations.
“There were a lot of things we wanted to do when we originally opened that we couldn’t do,” Matt Fisher, pitmaster at Fletcher’s, told me. “We just hit our six-year anniversary. A lot of places would like to refresh and renew and just don’t have the opportunity. We were fortunate that we figured out a way to do it.”
One week ago, the Fletcher’s Gowanus location re-opened to the public with a substantial remodeling that places an emphasis on sit-down service and an expanded bar instead of counter service. The result is a restaurant that now resembles something closer to Blue Smoke or Morgan’s rather than Hometown Bar-B-Que or Mighty Quinn’s.
The new menu still has traditional barbecue, but it also has a lot of other kinds of items, including a chopped brisket cheesesteak, BBQ tacos, wings, hot dogs, burgers, garden salads, cornmeal donut holes, banana pudding, and queso and chips. (Check out the new menu here.) It’s effectively a blend of a classic barbecue joint and a full sit-down fast casual experience.
“What’s fun about what we’ve done is we’ve kept feet in both of these worlds,” Fisher said. “If you want to have very straight barbecue with ribs, beans, cornbread, and burnt ends, you can totally do that. On the other hand, we’re going to have specials like fire-roasted tri-tip and poached mushrooms with a sour beer. Or you could have fire-roasted shrimp with poblano corn pudding with a crisp draft. It’s up to you if you want to push the boundaries with us a little on what you want out of a barbecue restaurant.”
While the new Fletcher’s menu is far more diverse than the previous version, one pitfall I’ve seen of some BBQ joints is straying too far from barbecue and then letting the barbecue quality suffer because of it. Fisher told me he’s aware of that mistake some restaurants make and assured me all of the barbecue will retain its quality.
“It’s top of mind for me because I’ve seen it happen too,” Fisher said. “I got into this to cook barbecue and I love barbecue. Everything we serve is as good as it should be.”
I haven’t had a chance to try the new Fletcher’s just yet, as I’ve been exploring the substantial Memphis barbecue scene with my friend BBQ Tourist. But I will be sampling the new Fletcher’s menu next week and posting all about it. I can’t wait.
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Bear’s Smokehouse, one of the best BBQ joints in Connecticut, just opened a new joint in New Haven at the District coworking and innovation campus. The project has been in the works for two and a half years. All of the standards from Bear’s other two locations are on the menu in New Haven, including pulled pork, brisket, burnt ends, Texas sausage, kielbasa, pulled chicken, and turkey.
Blue Smoke just announced that all of its top-notch “bar snacks” are now half-priced after 8 p.m. These include the smoked wings with Alabama white sauce (some of the best wings in all of NYC) for $7.50, the spicy chicken sandwich for $7, and the chopped pork sandwich for $6. You have to sit at the bar at either Blue Smoke location to get these deals, but it’s worth it.
Brooklyn’s Pig Beach has been working for a long time to make its wide array sauces and spices available to buy online. Now all of its all-purpose BBQ seasoning, Ocean Front Hot BBQ Sauce, Red BBQ Sauce, Vinegar BBQ Sauce, and Mustard BBQ Sauce are available to buy on Amazon.
November 10: Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's No. 43 fame will be throwing his annual Ciderfeast event at Biba in Williamsburg. This all-inclusive event runs $45 per ticket and will feature more than 15 cider brands, plus a wide selection of cheese, roasted pork, cured meats, prosciutto, vegetarian dishes, and more bites. Buy tickets here.
November 18: The Brooklyn Chocolate Festival will take place at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, and it will feature samples of chocolate covered bacon, fruits, toffee, honey, pretzels, pickles, and more. Early bird adult tickets run $10 and child tickets run $7. Buy tickets here.
December 1: The Brooklyn Whiskey and Craft Spirits Fest is happening Saturday, December 1 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. The event will feature more than 100 types of spirits, from whiskey to moonshine to mezcal. Meet the distillers, master blenders, and other experts. Buy tickets here.
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