Can Sadie’s Kitchen — a Southern prepared foods shop-slash-gourmet mac and cheese parlor with a 1930s diner-meets-country kitchen interior (oh, another one of those!) — beat the curse of 243 Degraw St.?
The diminutive Cobble Hill spot has proved a graveyard of failed restaurant attempts in recent years, counting Chicory, Ultimate Burgers and Dogs, and Cielo Café as casualties.
“We actually considered ourselves lucky to get this space,” laughed Sadie’s co-owner Damien Vizuete, who — along with partner Peter Sibilia — has been opening restaurants from Manhattan to Miami Beach for over 20 years. “We know very well why businesses fail, and its not always bad food or service,” he added. “For example, this space has a totally electric kitchen — you can’t cook with gas. Previous people had tried three-course meals here, steaks, burgers — too ambitious.”
Not that the fare at Sadie’s is a Southern-fried afterthought.
Out of the Kraft box options on the carb-happy menu include the Charlotte’s Mac, with crawfish, andouille sausage, habanero jack and okra bread crumbs ($10), the Winnie’s Mac, with shitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms, brie, and truffle bread crumbs ($10), the Mrs. Ling’s Mac, with Chinese five spice duck, smoked gouda and sesame panko breadcrumbs ($10), and of course, the basic Sadie’s Mac, with cheddar, stewed tomato, and a potato chip topping ($7).
There’s also a selection of biscuit sandwiches, stuffed with pecan bacon and arugula, short rib with tomato chow chow, and fried catfish with pickled okra tarter sauce ($8), sweet potato, shoo fly, and bourbon pecan pies ($4), and down-home libations like hot apple cider, chicory coffee and peach and basil iced tea ($3).
“We’re really the complete package,” said Vizuete. “We make everything in house, using top of the line ingredients — organic whenever possible. We use a different béchamel for each of our mac and cheeses. We offer gluten-free pasta. Our menu tops out at $14. We easily have one of the best interiors in the neighborhood. It’s a lot of bang for your buck!”
Vizuete is particularly pleased with Sadie’s pared down, self-sustaining business model, with no wait staff to manage (counter service only), and no dishes to wash (all food is served in take out containers).
“This is a tiny place — we don’t need food runners and busboys and maitre d’s,” he said. “This way, we can all make a living, and support three or four other shops. I can see us doing a Sadie’s Porch in Prospect Heights, perhaps, or a Sadie’s Backyard, in Fort Greene.”
That is, if Sadie’s Kitchen survives the curse of Cobble Hill.
Sadie’s Kitchen [243 Degraw St. at Clinton Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 576-3338].