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Shane's, BK's Favorite Breakfast Spot, Celebrates 22 Years in Prospect Heights

“I decided to go into the restaurant business [to provide] a need,” said owner Luther Williams.

“I decided to go into the restaurant business [to provide] a need,” explained Luther C. Williams III, the owner of Shane’s, a Black-owned restaurant celebrating 22 years since its opening in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. 

And that need is breakfast, especially the restaurant's hallmark crispy chicken and cinnamon waffles. 

Williams never considered himself a restaurant connoisseur. In fact, before opening his restaurant, at 794 Washington Avenue, in April 2002, he was a senior partner at the former Park Slope Health Club on Flatbush Avenue. After deciding to sell his share of the business, he needed something to do with his time, he said.

Many of his friends at the time were thriving in the restaurant business, which encouraged Williams to also open three restaurants— including Shane’s.

When he arrived in the neighborhood from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williams said there was only one place the community went for breakfast. This restaurant was often packed and had long wait times because everyone flocked there as it was the only place to go. 

Noticing a need for the neighborhood to have other dining options, Williams opened Shane's, named after his firstborn child, to serve “healthy food options with a touch of soul.”  

When he first opened the place, Williams did whatever was necessary to keep it up and running. From washing dishes, to plating food and making deliveries, Williams' determination is what encouraged his young workers to follow suit, many of whom he still retains.

“When I opened up, I would stand outside and I would give free things to people as they were walking by and just have some form of a conversation with them," explained Williams. “I would offer them all kinds of perks just to try the food because I wanted to really be involved with the community, that was important.” 

shanes-brooklyn-foodFrom the outside, Shane’s looks like a small restaurant. However, when you enter, you walk into a place that has two floors of seating filled with tables and booths. 

The younger wait staff makes you feel at home and offer up suggestions for first-timers unsure of what to get.  

Just like Brooklyn, Shane’s attracts people from all over the city and beyond. Since its inception, the restaurant has become the go-to brunch spot for girls day out, families and even those in search of a pick-me-up. 

On a recent Tuesday, three friends, Samantha C., Honesty B., and Zyniah R., all who declined to reveal their last names but said are frequent patrons, enjoyed dining at the restaurant simply because of the tasty food.

The women decided on the restaurant’s take on brunch classics like steak and eggs, chicken and waffles and a chicken sandwich.  

Unlike many other restaurants that have closed due to hardships like the pandemic, gentrification, rising retail rent, and difficult customers, Williams said he has found a way to overcome it to serve his community. 

For example, Shane’s served hot meals to emergency service and frontline workers during the pandemic, in a collaboration with actor Jeffery Wright. He credits his ability to stay afloat during a very difficult time due to this collaboration.

In the future, Williams said he hopes to find opportunities to bring Shane’s to other parts of Brooklyn. 


Brianna Robles

About the Author: Brianna Robles

Brianna Robles is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance writer and journalist specializing in sharing stories about mental health and spectacular women.
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