Taking over the former site of BKW Wine Bar on Crown Heights’ bustling Franklin Avenue, Claire Sprouse opened Hunky Dory (alongside co-owner Chad Arnholt) last month, where she has adopted a sustainability ethos and "waste not" approach to their offerings. They officially launch their nighttime menu (see below) this evening.
The 56-seat spot offers creative bar snacks and mains in a menu led by Kirstyn Brewer. Dishes include everything from a savory-style oatmeal with kabocha squash, to a root sandwich, to cod tots.
Prior to opening Hunky Dory, Sprouse led educational workshops about ways to reduce waste in the cocktail arena, something she learned from nose-to-tail cooking in Texas. At Hunky Dory, there are no garbage cocktails ("waste" is used to fire up creativity), and they also place a special emphasis on non-alcoholic beverages like the hot sorrel hibiscus drink with pink peppercorn and celery juice “cocktail.”
The restaurant will work with nearby community garden Imani to turn what can’t be recycled at the restaurant into composting, and incorporate an evolving roster of the garden’s under-utilized ingredients like nasturtium, which weren’t being used by its members. “I’m like, ‘hey, can I have your corn husk so I can infuse it into rum,’” says Sprouse of her approach to food waste. Hunky Dory also plans to have fundraisers for Imani Garden in the coming months, as well as workshops to teach people in the community to leverage under-utilized ingredients in the garden in their own cooking.
(Courtesy of Hunky Dory)
“I live in Crown Heights. I wanted to invest in this neighborhood, playing off of what that block and neighborhood mean. In the small town Texas I grew up in, we didn’t have mailboxes, and there was this strange, magnetic culture around the post office,” says Sprouse, who hopes to replicate a similar community feeling at Hunky Dory.
One of the priorities for Hunky Dory is sustainability, and to use recycled materials and sustainable resources whenever possible in the design. “While researching, I came across old Spanish printer’s manuals from the 1930s, where printers who were starved for funds and materials were responding to the art deco and avant-garde movements; instead of buying more tools and using up more materials, they reimagined the ones they had, and the playful work they made in turn was extremely inspiring to me,” says Kelly Thorn, of the design studio Charles & Thorn, who worked on the graphic elements for Hunky Dory.
The approachability of Hunky Dory extends to its aesthetic elements as well. Rather than creating a space that was “a dark cocktail bar or den of sin,” Hunky Dory uses brilliant shades of cobalt and pink, harkening to the fun and uplifting David Bowie album, of which the all-day dining spot is named after.
“As a big David Bowie fan, I think there’s deeper meaning [to our restaurant’s name]. We’re so used to getting things delivered to us overnight that we forget that a lot things have their origins in nature. Beyond just being about inclusivity, the name references a time where people had closer relationships with the land,” says Sprouse.
Hunky Dory is located at 747 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238