And the award goes to…
A Bedford-Stuyvesant Caribbean eatery was recognized as one of the country’s best community restaurants this month. The A&A Bake and Double and Roti Shop, run by Noel and Greeta Brown, was announced as a recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s American Classics award on Feb. 1. The honor recognizes spots with “timeless appeal,” that reflect the character of their community. Of this year’s five recipients, the Roti Shop is the only New York area restaurant, and the only one serving Caribbean cuisine.
The thrilled restaurateurs said there was a simple reason they were selected for the prestigious award.
“Our food is excellent and cheap and we serve it all day,” said Noel Brown.
Brown’s Fulton Street restaurant serves up popular Trinidadian fare, and the award specifically noted its doubles — curried chickpea sandwiches served between fried flatbread — along with its bake, roti, and other dishes from the twin-island republic.
The food at the Roti Shop, according to the Foundation, is a “delicious reminder of Bed-Stuy’s rich Caribbean history.”
The Foundation’s other awards rely on outside nominations, but winners in the American Classics category are suggested by its 19-member Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee. The group of food critics each year consider hundreds of restaurants that meet the three criteria for the award: being in operation for at least a decade, being locally owned, and serving moderately-priced food options.
The family-run business began serving its doughy snacks and flatbread in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2002. The neighborhood has seen major demographic changes since then, but Brown said that the newcomers have become part of their loyal clientele.
“The area’s been changing a lot, but a lot of the new people are curious to taste what we have — they are always adventurous,” he said.
After the award announcement, Brown said that he has seen a slight increase in patrons, but vowed to retain the cultural authenticity that earned the award.
“I’ve seen a few new customers and it’s been great, but we’re taking it one at a time,” said Brown. “We’re not going to change and everything will still be the same. We’re going to keep maintaining our home-like vibe and atmosphere.”
A&A Bake and Double and Roti Shop [1337 Fulton St. between Verona Place and Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (347) 425–0016, www.aanda