When Glady’s (788 Franklin Avenue, 718-622-0249) first opened in Crown Heights last year, owner Michael Jacober told Grub Street, “I wanted to evoke an all-American sandwich shop.” And so he and his crew turned out smoked meats and grilled cheese alongside bar snacks like chicharrones.
Now, the restaurant is getting a major refresh: Glady’s will reopen on Saturday as a Caribbean joint.
“Frankly, this is the originial concept that I wanted to put in this neighborhood, but I didn’t have the guts to do it,” says Jacober. “It’s a Caribbean neighborhood that’s rapidly gentrifying, and I was terrified. But now that I’ve been in the neighborhood for about a year, I’ve gained the confidence to do it — and I’m reinvigorated by Caribbean food.”
And so he decided to go for it, even though it represents a bit of a divergence from what he’s done before. “I’m Jewish,” he explains. “Theoretically, I should be going back to my roots and opening a Jewish inspired deli.”
He’s installed Matteo Potenza, who did time at Momofuku and Kajitsu, in the kitchen, and the chef will initially focus on food from Jamaica and Guyana. “We’re not tapping into Trinidad quite yet,” says Jacober, though he says the menu may eventually grow. In the meantime, look for whole fried or grilled fish and jerked meats — including pork, chicken, and lobster — which are cooked over an open flame with a lot of smoke for hours. Glady’s is importing wood for Jamaica for their jerk, and the kitchen is making its own jerk season.
That food pairs to a rum-heavy cocktail list, which purveys more than 50 varieties of the sugarcane spirit in addition to rum slushies and other cocktails. Beer drinkers can delight in a pair of taps and eight bottles, culled from American craft and Caribbean breweries.
Most of all, Jacober hopes Glady’s will give his neighbors something unusual: “I’ve been cooking New American, Italian, and French for too long,” Jacober says. “I’m kind of tired of the Brooklyn restaurant scene. I’m tired of the constant one-upsmanship and no clear identity to the cooking.”
Beginning on Saturday, Glady’s will be open for dinner seven days a week, and it’ll move into lunch in a couple of months.