When you think of Gowanus, don’t you just think of sea air and fresh clams? What’s that? Oh, you think of Superfunds and oil slicks? Yeah, us too. But a group of very plucky DIY restaurateurs are about to change our minds.
According to their website, Littleneck will be, “Brooklyn’s first and only classic New England-style beach side seafood shack.” Founders Aaron Lefkove, Andy Curtin, and Charlie Moody have signed a lease on a 1,200 square foot space at 288 3rd Avenue between Carroll and President. When they open (Aaron hopes it will be “mid-September…barring anymore unforeseen obstacles…of which there have been many”) they’ll have a raw bar, lobster rolls, fried clam rolls, a “killer burger,” “stuffies,” and plenty of beer.
Do yourself a favor and don’t Google “stuffies.” They’re talking about stuffed clams. Just leave it at that.
The chef cooking up these beach-y delights will be Ten Vong, formerly of Fat Hippo and Mercer Kitchen. The founders are old friends, at least two of whom are each other’s former bandmates, and Aaron thinks their artistic backgrounds make them particularly well-suited to the task of building out their own restaurant.
“We all come from a very DIY artistic background, and we all have our skill sets. Coming in with a mentality like that, where you just do what has to be done and if you don’t know how to do something you learn quick and on the spot…I can not stress enough how much that helps. And coming from this musical background, too, where that approach just becomes second nature, lets you look at the building process as another project. I feel like the places I have seen who have built themselves up with a very do-it-yourself ethos–places like Roberta’s or Mile End or The Meat Hook—I feel like that is really much more impressive and shows much more passion and dedication than someone lacking that personal touch.”
The restaurant has already reached their Kickstarter goal of $8,000 to help with the build-out, but they have a month left until their deadline and said they can “use all the help they can get.”
“I think the beautiful thing about Kickstarter is that it allows you to build up a relationship with the community around you, and really put a face on what you are doing,” Aaron told us. “Many of the supporters have been our close friends, but there are many people too who pledged because they believe in the idea and want to have a small role, or they live in the neighborhood and they are really psyched about us opening, or they like that we are trying to operate responsibly and compost our waste and really try and make a difference, however negligible it may be, on the world around us.”
Littleneck will be sourcing their seafood from the East Coast, they’ll compost their food waste, and they hope to eventually get a vehicle running on their leftover clam frying oil. But first, they have to get off the ground. If you want to lend a hand (major donors get free beer and raw seafood for life!), check out their Kickstarter page, and look for them by the canal this fall.