Six years ago, Bushwick Starr co-founders Sue Kessler and Noel Allain had the idea to follow in the footsteps of a nearby theater, Queen’s Chocolate Factory Theater — host of the annual “Taste of LIC” bash — and invite a few restaurants onto the roof of their Starr Street theater to fundraise for the new theater season.
This year, the sixth annual “Taste of Bushwick” festival will take place on Monday, June 10 and will feature the wares of at least 30 local restaurants and vendors, all of whom can be sampled by the curious at its new location: Brooklyn Cider House, who is, for the first time, running the event and will also be among those providing goodies inside little cardboard trays. Also confirmed to attend: Sally Roots; the recently-opened Teo; and Archie’s, named by Bushwick Daily as the best pizzeria of 2018.
Tickets are on sale now and go for $55 in advance and $60 at the door. They are also available for $45 before June 1st.
Proceeds still benefit the programming at Bushwick Starr, as well as its newer partnership with the El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center, which is an educational program aimed at teens and early adolescents. The Starr has, in turn, continuously run the event in a wide variety of locations. Last year’s event was inside Brooklyn Steel, a music venue in East Williamsburg. Sue Kessler tells Bushwick Daily she had mixed feelings about the move there. She’s happy to have things move closer to home, as Brooklyn Cider House is only a few blocks away from the site of Bushwick Starr’s theater.
“Bushwick still has a very exciting culinary scene, with a lot of ambitious risk-taking chefs who are doing a lot bold and unique cuisines,” Kessler said.
The festival has also netted the attention of sponsors, including the cocktail bar staple Tito’s and the latest Men In Black movie.
“The spirit of the event has always strived to be low-key so it doesn’t feel too corporate,” Kessler said.
But the Bushwick Starr is also “passing the torch” of the six-year-old festival over to the local Cider House, a restaurant-cum-bar-cum-regional envoy of Hudson River Valley’s cider crop that opened to much fanfare in 2017.
“We don’t see ourselves as a typical restaurant. Or bar,” said Susan Yi, a school teacher who founded Brooklyn Cider House with her husband, Peter. “We’re doing something that’s raw and natural, and we always thought was a very good fit with Bushwick.” Yi added, “There are a lot of risk takers in Bushwick, and we always hoped we would be a good fit for a community that would be open to trying to new things.”
Taking over Taste Of Bushwick marks the beginning of an ambitious series of summer programs for Brooklyn Cider House, which has recently begun hosting tastings of notable ciders. As Yi tells Bushwick Daily, they envision entire festivals in the near future dedicated to cider. “This year, we hope to get out more and really connect with our neighbors in an authentic way,” she said.