Retired Brooklyn airman Marty Randisi is flying high in Williamsburg, after opening the restaurant of his dreams at the corner of Grand Street and Marcy Avenue — three miles from he grew up on Court and Livingston streets in Brooklyn Heights.
The Vietnam War veteran and his family celebrated the Aug. 5 grand opening of Bill Baker’s Restaurant & Bar with fellow comrades-in-arms and local dignitaries, including Carlo Scissura, president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Bill Baker’s — a slice of Americana named after Randisi’s late father-in-law, with brick walls dating back to 1887 and a banker’s clock stopped on Dec. 5, 1933 — is a mom-and-pop milestone for the Chamber. It is the 3,000th small business the city’s Small Business Services has helped from seed to sprout, complete with access to a new online tool to avoid violations.
“Assisting talented entrepreneurs like Marty Randisi to take dreams and turn them into real businesses is what the Brooklyn Chamber is all about,” said Scissura. “We hope to help many other veterans in opening new businesses in Brooklyn.”
Randisi, a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal and a grandfather of four, will operate Bill Baker’s with son Adam, and Adam’s culinary school buddy, chef Nels Benton. The entrepreneurial grandpa, who is married 47 years and attended night school at St. Francis College on the Government Issue Bill to become an accountant, is savoring the moment.
“When you are a Brooklynite and you get to open a business when Brooklyn is in the middle of its rebirth, it’s like the stars and bells go off,” he said.
New customers are hooked.
“The beer selection is really broad, and you can have a flight of all the house brews,” said Kensington tippler Bill Karl. “I’ll be back.”