Ribs – Bushwick Daily
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Pizza, bagels, friendly shouts: these are some of New York’s favorite things. BBQ, currently strong across the country, has yet to find such a secure home. This is where Michael Brandl comes in. Born in Queens and with pizza dough for the bones, he nevertheless chose, via his food truck Rib in a Cup based in Bushwick, to peddle the culinary dishes of the South of the United States. Earlier this year, Brandl brought these eponymous ribs – plus pulled pork, fried chicken, and various side dishes – to the bustling intersection of Dekalb and Wyckoff.
Brandl’s grandfather ran a deli-pizzeria in Long Island City, but Brandl’s father held a stable union position as a Verizon line worker. Decades later, the son he raised in a reliable store has instead followed his grandfather through the life of food and entrepreneurship, a move with which the 34-year-old grocer seems quite right. made in peace.
His “aha” moment with barbecue was less picturesque.
“It was Firefly [music festival] in Delaware, ”Brandl recalls,“ we came back after the end and there was nothing open. We had a package of plastic ribs in my fridge, but no plates or utensils. I put them on the grill and threw them in mugs. So we started to joke, “Rib in a cup, rib in a cup!” So it became what I did at backyard barbecues.
In 2016, Brandl went into business for himself, serving barbecue cups at a food stall at Long Island City Flea & Food, in the same neighborhood as his grandfather’s former grocery store. From there, he gained enough traction to open up places in the Falchi building – also at LIC – and Chelsea.
The New York real estate market had other plans for Brandl’s nascent business, however. Around 2018, his Chelsea and LIC locations were torpedoed by newly hired property management companies with ideas that didn’t fit the domestic markets and he was on hearing. He moved into the restaurant business, working with a start-up called Fooda, which handles office lunches for white-collar workers. Then the COVID pandemic struck and Brandl was, once again, out of work.
“I was like, now what?” Brandl said.
Unable to work indoors, Brandl became mobile.
“I bought the truck from this Irishman who had one in the back of his bar, I bought it for about $ 15,000,” Brandl said. “I had to clean it up and throw in a bunch of stuff, but I was able to customize the interior and exterior, which I painted myself.
The rib of rib in the price list of a cup has changed little since its market days. Headlining the carnal extravagance are of course the baby back ribs (full grill $ 18, half grill $ 10), with dark meat fried chicken and a red bean chili that lift their savory flavors. heels in the background. Any meat can also be stuffed into a brioche sandwich ($ 8) or placed on a platter ($ 10), which comes with two sides. These include: macaroni and cheese, French fries, green beans, cornbread, and crisps.
“My first day, I was a little nervous. What do I do? Drive somewhere and stop and say, Hey guys, do I have some food? “
Brandl sits in his sauna from a food truck all day Tuesday through Friday in Bushwick, and on Saturdays he takes a seat at the Bronx Night Market at Fordham Plaza. Sunday is his only day of real rest, Monday being reserved for purchases and repairs.
It might seem like a sweaty job, but Brandl’s attitude – albeit a few months into the experience – is upbeat.
“Some sellers think [food trucks] are a huge pain in the ass, “Brandl said.” And yes, I have another vehicle now, but as far as it goes, that’s the only problem. Working with the truck is great. I love the freedom to move around, not having to be locked in a brick and mortar, where in New York you pay a ton and get trapped.
But coupled with Sisyphean’s daily toil to find parking (“A deli owner called me twice”), it is not unreasonable to wonder if Brandl has any qualms about the path he has taken. borrowed. Lisa Fernandes, owner of Sweet Chili and former food trucker, told me she had no feelings of sympathy about her time as a mobile saleswoman.
I asked Brandl about the prospect of serving beef briskets, and while doubting the feasibility of the idea, he didn’t rule it out. More certain is the prospect of adding tacos to his menu, which he says will likely replace the chicken and waffles currently on the menu. The “waffles” on these are made with mac and cheese, so buy them while supplies last.
Catch ribs in a cup Tuesday through Friday 1 to 9 p.m. at Dekalb and Wyckoff and Saturdays at the Bronx Night Market at Fordham Plaza. You will have to fend for yourself on Sunday.
Top photo credit: Matt Fink.
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