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This New Crown Heights Eatery Lets Nothing Go to Waste

Hunky Dory puts sustainability front and center by cross-utilizing ingredients throughout the restaurant, as well as through techniques like dehydrating, jarring and fermenting
Honky Dory, BK Reader
Photo courtesy Hunky Dory

Hunky Dory, a new sustainable cafe and restaurant with a zero-waste approach has opened its doors in Crown Heights, and this week, it officially launched its dinner and cocktail menu, Gothamist reports. 

Located at the former site of Brooklyn Winery on Franklin Avenue, the 56-seat eatery opened last month for breakfast and lunch. It now offers a mix of creative bar snacks and entrees, and puts sustainability front and center. 

Honky Dory, BK Reader
Onion dip with chips.
Photo credit: Megan Rainwater for Honky Dory

The cafe/ restaurant is co-owned and operated by Claire Sprouse, a former acclaimed San Francisco bartender and now Brooklyn resident, who prior to opening Hunky Dory led educational workshops about ways to reduce waste in bars.

"I had never stopped to think about how much water we waste at the end of the night," Sprouse said to Edible Brooklyn, mentioning how bartenders often melt their leftover ice with hot water, which led her to think about ways bars could be more sustainable.

Sprouse tries to achieve that in her own establishment by cross-utilizing ingredients between the bar and kitchen — at Hunky Dory, there are no "garbage cocktails," waste is used to fire up creativity ,— as well as through techniques like dehydrating, jarring and fermenting, searching for alternative cleaners, limiting plastic use and being mindful of water usage.

Anything Honky Dory can't recycle inside the restaurant will be brought to a local community garden for composting. In return, the restaurant will incorporate ingredients the garden's members don't use.

"I'm like, 'hey, can I have your corn husk so I can infuse it into rum,'" said Sprouse of her approach to food waste. 

Hunky Dory's casual new American menu, created by Chef Kirstyn Brewer, is split into larger and smaller plates, and features everything from an oatmeal with kabocha squash, to a celery root sandwich, to cod tots. Bigger plates include pork schnitzel with black-eyed pea salad and fermented broccoli rabe, a mackeral escabeche with crispy potatoes and castelvetrano olives, as well as "green egg and ham," a braised ham in a green chile broth, a soft-boiled egg, and rice and beans.

Honky Dory, BK Reader
Photo credit: Megan Rainwater for Honky Dory

The space itself also is designed to further Hunky Dory's sustainability mission: Kelly Thorn, of the design studio Charles & Thorn, used recycled materials and sustainable resources whenever possible. Inspired by and named after David Bowie's fourth album, the restaurant's interior boasts bright hues of cobalt and pink.

"As a big David Bowie fan, I think there's deeper meaning [to our restaurant's name]," said Sprouse. "We're so used to getting things delivered to us overnight that we forget that a lot things have their origins in nature. Beyond just being about inclusivity, the name references a time where people had closer relationships with the land."

Hunky Dory, located at 747 Franklin Avenue, is open Wednesday through Monday, from 8:00am to 2:00am, with food served until 1:00am.