In the latest incarnation of Gowanus culinary intrigue, artisan pickle-maker Brooklyn Brine announced plans yesterday to open Pickle Shack around the corner from their brinery on President Street. According to owner and chef Shamus Jones, the restaurant will open in late July or early August and serve “elevated pub fare” at the former Root Hill Burger address, 256 Fourth Avenue, which abruptly shuttered two days ago after seven short months in business.
The 70-seat (including 35 outdoor seats) outpost will feature an open kitchen and allow Brooklyn Brine to share new products with a wider audience, Jones says. He calls the project a “veritable testing arena. … The Pickle Shack gives a brick-and-mortar venue to the many ideas we have, which would be impossible to execute on the manufacturing side.” Expect things to get creative.
The shack will serve Dogfish Head beers exclusively, which Jones calls a “no-brainer,” since Brooklyn Brine has been collaborating with the Delaware brewery since 2010 on its wildly-popular Hop Pickle.
At Dogfish Head, Justin Williams said Brooklyn Brine was a natural partner. “For the hop pickle, it was kind of a serendipitous moment. Sam was actually just sitting there, eating a Brooklyn Brine product and drinking a beer. He really liked the combination of the two flavors, so he reached out to Shamus, and they realized they were two like-minded companies, and it seemed like a good fit.”
At Pickle Shack, Williams says, they will take the collaboration to the next step, using Calagione’s beer-infusion device, called “Randall’s Enamel Animal,” which hooks into the draft beer system. Beer passes through as it’s poured and picks up flavor as it does: “We’re going to be able to run the draft lines through fresh hops and herbs,” Jones says. “The possibilities are endless for what we can infuse into this beer.”
As for the food, “We want it to have complex flavors without the table service or the preciousness of fine dining,” Jones says. ” It’s going to be fun–a good vibe, a place you can go to multiple times a week. It’s the nature of fried pickles and beer and pickle-heavy sandwiches and pickle plates–I don’t really see any other concept.”
With Root Hill Burger’s closing, setting up shop in the space is ideal. Pickle Shack’s back yard is enclosed by the walls of the pickle factory, and the two spaces actually share a wall. Which raises a question: Are backyard pickle tours in the cards? “It would take some serious construction, and we’d have to knock down parts of a brick wall, but that is the dream,” Jones says.