They may have started their journey in very different places — Trevor Sullivan is a Vermonter, Lisa Bergstrom hails from Sweden, and Jeremiah Voggelman grew up in Park Slope — but after a number of personal and pandemic related twists and turns, the trio are now business partners slinging broccoli boats from a window at the Brooklyn Love building in Fort Greene.
Their brand new restaurant is called Broccoli Bar, a vegan takeout spot with a lot of energy and, yes, a whole lot of broccoli. In summer's past, the Broccoli Bar food truck has been a huge hit at music festivals, but now they've got a more permanent spot.
Broccoli Bar serves broccoli five ways, four of which I sampled last Saturday on one of the benches out front on Fulton Street. All were quite lively, surprisingly filling (the bed of rice helps with the latter), and, crucially for a place with such a limited menu, had a completely different flavor profile. The Pakora was possibly my favorite, the soft, heavily-battered fritters infused with masala and topped with a coconut curry chutney.
The steamed veggie-filled Dumplings also satisfied, eight plump packages covered in a green curry broccoli sauce, and the BBQ Dry Rub broccoli featured a nice char and some well-chosen spices. The Tempura broccoli boat had a pleasant kick to it, but needed to be cooked a little longer to reduce interior doughiness.
And all of Broccoli Bar's dishes come with a handful of pickled vegetables, which add a refreshing hit of acid to things.
The trio plan on expanding the menu soon, bringing a bunch of broccoli sandwiches into the mix, and they've already added Deep Fried Mac n' Cheez Balls, served with broccoli sauce, naturally.
Like a lot of new businesses conceived during the pandemic, Broccoli Bar arrived on Fulton Street through a combination of ruined plans and good luck. Sullivan and Bergstrom run a vegan cafe in Burlington, Vermont, called Pingala, but as Sullivan told Gothamist, "the goal has been to come to Brooklyn, we just didn't know exactly how it would look. We really want to make good vegan food accessible to a lot of people, and this seems like a great place to do that."
With festival season canceled due to the pandemic, turning Broccoli Bar the food truck into Broccoli Bar the restaurant suddenly seemed like the obvious way to go, and Brooklyn native Voggelman, whom they had met in Vermont, gave them the presence here that they needed to make it happen. When a short-term lease at the iconic, triangular, Brooklyn Love building became available, the trio pounced.
Broccoli Bar is purely takeout for now, with two benches out front providing the only seating if you want to eat your cruciferous treats immediately. You can usually find a space a block away at Fowler Square as well. And like all well-prepped festival food, your meal here comes out fast, so there's no real lingering by the window.
The Broccoli Bar is located at 690 Fulton Street, at the corner of South Portland Avenue, and is currently open from noon to 8 p.m. daily (broccolibar.com)