New York is no stranger to the terms “locally sourced” and “quick and convenient,” but combine these two everyday concepts, and you’re looking at a much more challenging endeavor that most restaurateurs shy (far) away from. Tom Kearney and Matt Amberg hope to break that practice with Nine Chains (1111 Church Avenue, Brooklyn), a locally-focused bakery opening today in Ditmas Park.
Kearney and Amberg are well-versed on the sustainability front; they’re both involved in The Farm on Adderley, a regionally reliant restaurant just footsteps away from their new venture. Kearney’s chef title and Amberg’s culinary development assistance here rooted in them an interest to create a spinoff that could offer the community the same caliber of ingredients at an on-the-go level.
“We take the same philosophy and approach to sourcing and producing our food as we do at The Farm [on Adderley], which is trying to source regionally,” Kearney notes. “I’ve been doing this for 17 years — people are a lot more concerned with traceability and where their food comes from. People want to eat simply, which is in line with our approach, too.”
The team sources grains from the Finger Lakes region (which, Kearney says, is having quite the “grain renaissance” right now), and also uses natural leaven for an expansive bread selection that spans the traditional — focaccia, whole wheat — to the curiosity-piquing — whiskey ball, sour diesel — basket dwellers. The homemade breads will be used for a vast array of sandwiches; highlights include the Ricky Bobby, made with brussels sprouts and parmesan mayo on a roll, or the Acapulco Red, a reuben riff with Lancaster swiss, sambal, and corned beef brisket from the same in-house butchering program in practice at The Farm on Adderley.
Kearney is most excited to debut an offering of stuffed buns, packed with either slow cooked pork or curried beans, in addition to a take on “crimped sandwiches,” a diamond-shaped pressed specialty he tried in India. To get a taste of the latter, try either the Chino Valdez (with cheddar and jalapeño) or the White Widow (with roasted cauliflower and pickled mango). Drinks take an elevated approach; coffee gets prettied up with either bergamot skins or fresh ginger, and English breakfast tea receives sweet and spice finesse through cinnamon, honey, and bee pollen foam.
While there are a few seats and tables, all of the offerings were built as to-go orders in an effort to reach the commuting crowd and sauntering passers-by in a community that Kearney has grown to love. “I’ve lived in Manhattan for so long, and I came out here — I have been here for the past 8 years — and it’s a really wonderful community. I don’t know what brings everyone together; I think it’s just that everyone is middle class with kids — and these kids are walking home from school, speaking three or four different languages together,” he says. “It’s a really lovely community, and people have been super supportive — and I hope it continues.”
Nine Chains will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.