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Chewing the fat! Bay Ridgite creates online foodie forum for Southern Brooklyn

Cuisine connoisseur: Foodie Frank Tilelli founded the “South Brooklyn Food and Drink” Facebook group to get people out of the house and into Bay Ridge and Southern Brooklyn restaurants like Casa Calamari.
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A Bay Ridgite aims to get locals out of their homes and culinary comfort zones with an online forum devoted to exploring Southern Brooklyn cuisine.

The Facebook group started as just a causal space for friends to chat about local grub, but in a mere two months it has ballooned to a full fledged foodie forum with 1,500 members who highlight eateries in oft-overlooked nabes. It has helped locals acquire a taste for trying new things, said the group’s founder.

“South Brooklyn doesn’t get as much coverage, and nothing makes me sadder than to walk down Third Avenue and see perfectly good restaurants with nobody in them,” said Bay Ridgite Frank Tilelli. “I feel it’s been a while since someone went out of their way to put Bay Ridge, South Brooklyn food on the map. And the group is a community thing. So this way things won’t get lost in the sauce, so to speak.”

Tilelli founded the Facebook group, “South Brooklyn Food and Drink,” in March, inspired by the former chef of Bay Ridge steak house Chadwick’s, who in 2013 won an episode of the Food Network’s show “Chopped!”

“That was the first time in a long time that someone put South Brooklyn food out there,” said Tilelli. “And especially now, Facebook is a lot of politics and people just being nasty to each other. So I said, ‘I like culinary stuff, let me combine that to try and start something positive where people can have fun.’ ”

Locals post meal snaps with brief reviews of restaurants, nearby foodie news and events, how-to videos, and swap recipes for some ambitious eats, including London broil prepared with a coffee and spice rub, a rack of hickory lamb, and ebelskiver — Danish pancakes.

It has become a space for locals to chew the fat on all things foodie in Southern Brooklyn and beyond. But Tilelli wasn’t expecting it to ripen into a recipe book.

“The whole home-cook thing was a surprise because I really didn’t expect people to do that as much as they’re doing,” said Tilelli. “I’m kind of a home cook, but people started posting things and I said, ‘Damn, I gotta up my game.’ I’m proud of it.”

Aside from getting the creative juices flowing, the trio who run the group hope people will venture out of the house and try a new restaurant, a new type of food, and just put a twist on whatever routine they’ve fallen into.

“It’s a fun escape,” said Bay Ridgite Vladimir Vizner, who helps Tilelli run the group along with fellow Ridgite Bianca Papas. “It’s an interactive way for people to discuss local eateries and it’s geared toward a Brooklyn crowd. It’s a fun escape,”

In the future, the trio of moderators hope to organize meet ups to tour Bay Ridge and explore other nabes’ grub.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 5:58 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Carol Keegan from New Springville says:
I really enjoyed reading this article about the South Brooklyn Food and Drink Group on Facebook. And, i'm a former Ridgeite who moved to Staten Island 13 years ago. I'm also one of the 1,500 members of this group. And, I so enjoy reading their recipes, articles, and responses and replies from the other members. Also, what restaurants they visited, along with their critiques. In fact, my friend's and I visited one of the restaurant's that was given a great referral. And, we weren't disappointed. And, I am so very grateful to Frank, Vladimir, and Bianca for starting this group.
May 30, 2017, 11:36 am
Els from Bay Ridge says:
This is a great group! I am so happy to be apart of it. The ideas and the foodie pics are fantastic. I have gotten many ideas for new recipes. I have also learned about new hots spots for dining. Love the article!
May 30, 2017, 12:31 pm
Amanda from Brooklyn says:
I love this group and the concept! A HUGE supportive thank you to Frank and everyone else involved in making this page so wonderful!
May 30, 2017, 4:51 pm
Chris from Nyc says:
Moved out of Brooklyn and into the city So its a great way to keep an eye on new restraunts and be reminded of some of my fav's in South Brooklyn.There is also some great homecooked stuff that is being shared on the page.
May 30, 2017, 4:56 pm
Nobodysperfectfan from Brooklyn says:
Frank is the dreamiest rock God who ever walked Bay Ridge. His food selections are genius and he's so funny.
May 30, 2017, 5:27 pm
Danielle from Formerly Bay Ridge says:
Frank's love of food has revitalized my drive and desire to eat, cook, and share with others.

Suffering from food allergies, dining was a chore and a nightmare. I actually got refused service from a Perkins! I get no judgement and only support from his group and inspiration!

Thanks Frank!
May 30, 2017, 5:40 pm
Danielle Ferris from Bay Ridge says:
I Love this group so much it's one of my favorites!
There is no drama and everyone is great. I do love to cook and I also learned a lot from other members. The restaurant reviews are cool too. Thanks for adding me to the group Frank!
May 30, 2017, 6:03 pm
Dever from BK All Day says:
This site is the best way to get the real information on places to eat we have been loyal followers from day one and they have never steered us wrong!
May 30, 2017, 6:34 pm
Jenny from Kensington says:
So great to see these familiar Brooklyn gems, local shops and awesome home chefs sharing and caring through food...the best medicine... Thank you!
May 30, 2017, 6:35 pm
Lynette from Bay Ridge,Brooklyn says:
Honest feedback on the local gems..and great pictures and recipes from the home cooks. I am a proud, contributing member.
May 30, 2017, 6:43 pm
Danielle Z from Bay Ridge says:
What a wonderfully informative, positive, and fun group Frank & Bianca have created! Filled with restaurant recommendations, home cooked meals, & recipes, I enjoy being both a participant and a member. Thanks for bringing an awesome group of people together who share where to go & what to cook!
May 30, 2017, 6:51 pm
Billy from Bay Ridge says:
Great group, great article. I continuously find new places to eat, and dishes to try while I am out through the recommendations of this group. Asking other home cooks questions and borrowing their ideas and techniques has finally given my wife a reason to keep me around.
May 30, 2017, 6:58 pm
Susan from Marine park says:
Love the group. Really enjoy everyone's recommendations!
May 30, 2017, 7:53 pm
Angela from Bay Ridge says:
Always looking for a new place to dine..

Thanks Frank
May 30, 2017, 8 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Great job Frank, and everyone on that group. Thanks for the great meals I ate after reading your reviews.
May 30, 2017, 9:36 pm
Jen Amendola says:
Loved reading this article and love reading about new places to eat at.
May 30, 2017, 11:26 pm
Joseph Hamboussi from Bay Ridge Born to Greenwich, CT says:
Thanks to Frank I Bought some Milano Cookies last week! oh... and milk:)

Fun to watch my old neighborhood feature food & drink directly from experiences.

Been in the food & drink biz 28 years now and still as passionate if not more daily. Thank you Frank FK for a great and positive group.
May 31, 2017, 1:57 am
Donna Kasic from Bay Ridge says:
Excellent page on facebook. It's a great place to get first hand information about restaurants in the area. Thank you Frank for starting the page
May 31, 2017, 8:23 am
Lisa from Bay Ridge says:
I LOVE this group! It's opened my eyes to so many new restaurants that I didn't know existed or just never thought about trying! I've added a ton of new places to my rotation! Thank you Frank for running such a great page!
May 31, 2017, 9:57 am

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