Smoke has been filling the streets of Flatbush…and it smells like chicken.
That’s right. Jerk chicken, to be specific. Turns out neighbors are getting peeved about the waves of spiced, charred chicken smoke that are wafting, they claim, from popular restaurant Peppa’s. The accusation? That the restaurant expands to an outdoor grill in the back alley when hungry crowds gather and orders start piling up, and these outdoor grills send smoke, massive amounts of really good smelling smoke, wafting through the neighborhood, clouding in headlights and streetlights, and seeping into thousands of apartments on the surrounding blocks.
This sounds kind of delightful to us, but Peppa’s neighbors aren’t charmed. Several told the Brooklyn Daily about their displeasure:
“’It seems egregious,’ said Winthrop Hoyt, who says the smoke is pervasive enough to make it into his apartment on Clarkson Avenue, across the street and down the block from Peppa’s. ‘You can see it in cars headlights and streetlights.’”
Neighbor Tim Thomas shined a smoke-filled beam of light on the controversy in October on his blog, The Q at Parkside:
“…it’s become so commonplace, that you’ll often walk down Flatbush through a haze as thick as 1970′s L.A….I’m not against any local business trying to make a buck, maybe even bending the rules a bit to do so. And I love Peppa’s chicken and curry goat w/rice and peas (could do without the Ackee fish though) and want them to continue to thrive. But what they’re doing is massively illegal…”
Thomas even went all P.I. on this, snapping an appropriately blurry photo of a couple of guys with a smoker and a shopping cart, clearly grilling something in the vacant backyard of the popular restaurant.
Two problems: first, the Brooklyn Daily says even if it is Peppa’s that’s smoking up this storm, it’s not illegal.
“Outdoor grilling of food is permitted in New York City, provided the food being cooked is stored properly, according to the Department of Health.
“The city’s Department of Environmental Protection also inspected the place four times in the last year after receiving eight complaints in 2011, but said it hadn’t found any violations.”
Second, Peppa’s denies the whole thing! From the Brooklyn Daily:
“‘You see that?’ said Omar, an employee, pointing to the flames behind the counter. ‘That’s the only thing we use.’”
So who’s the jerk here? Hard to know. Could there be an underground jerk chicken-grilling outfit prowling the back alleys and rooftops of Flatbush, doing their thing only when no one is looking? Could the neighborhood be haunted by a Ghost of Jerk Chicken Past, whose smoke fills the streets from another dimension? Only time will tell.