Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pulp and Bean - All Brooklyn, All the Time


"My whole life has been Brooklyn" says Tony Fisher as he moves excitedly around stacks of shelving and brand-new equipment in his almost-finished coffee shop at 805 Franklin Avenue. "Brooklyn's been good to me and my family, and now I'm giving back." Pulp and Bean, as his place is to be called, will be a thoroughly local institution, and Fisher is rightfully proud. "Look at this," he calls from behind the counter, tossing a five-pound bag of coffee beans over to me. "Gillies Coffee, the oldest coffee roaster in the United States, based right here in Brooklyn. It's high quality stuff, and it's all I'm serving." As promised on Twitter (Fisher is a prolific tweeter), everything from the cups to the milk will be made or distributed by Brooklyn-based, family-owned companies, just like Fisher's. The bagels will be delivered fresh daily from La Bagel Delight, and the whole place will draw electricity from the same breezes that ruffle the hair of every Brooklynite, thanks to a green wind-power unit on the roof.

Fisher's passion for Brooklyn and its residents extends to his customers, who he promises will be able to get "coffee any way you want it." Standard espresso drinks will be available, along with a wide range of teas (Darjeeling, Rooibus, and China White, all from Gillies, were lying on the counter) and unique daily specials. You'll also be able to pick out whole roasted beans by the pound, and have them grind them for you behind the counter. The "pulp" in the name references the fresh fruit juices and smoothies that will be served, alongside a line of ready-to-eat panini, wraps, and salads. He's got great faith in his staff, all local folks, who he swears will get caffeine-addicted straphangers their fix on the way to the 4 train in three minutes, tops. "That's the kind of service you expect in Manhattan, in Park Slope, and it's what we deserve here, too."

Which brings us to Franklin Avenue's recession-be-damned retail boom, which has provided two new cafes (Lily and Fig and the Breukelen Coffee House) to the area already. Having done business for 20+ years in Crown Heights, Fisher maintains connections to longtime residents. "I've got mothers who come into my store every day, and now I've just hired their kids. I'm going to train them to be baristas," says Fisher, with a smile that acknowledges how absurd such a proposition might have sounded half a decade ago. Still, when it comes to the changing face of the avenue, Fisher is mostly unsentimental. "Fifteen years ago when we were renovating the supermarket, this place was different," he says. "I had people shot right outside my store. I literally had to hold onto a couple of people until the ambulance arrived . . . Now, any legitimate, local business that comes in, I'm all for it." He's even gone so far as to put friends who do business nearby in touch with realtors as storefronts have come on the market.

This last explains Fisher's friendly attitude towards what some might consider competition as he prepares for a soft opening this weekend. "I hope they do well. I hope we all do well. I want this area to keep getting better and better."

9 comments:

  1. Tony sounds so pleasant here! I hope he's realized how bad his recent internet rants made him look. Here's to his continued success!

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  2. completely agree. I am so turned off by his tone on the brooklynian forums! I can't get a handle on his attitude... I'm very cautiously optimistic about his new coffee place, especially given the wonderful spirit and flexibility of the new Breukelen House.

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  3. i went to the grand opening yesterday and everything was free i got a coffee and a muffin and the workers were so friendly and the coffee was delicious

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  4. i agree with the first few posters...after reading about how he thinks the other coffee shop planted a mole to steal his coffee secrets and after telling community residents they arent welcome at his shop i think he sounds completely disingenuous and fake here.

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  5. Unfortunately the employees have probably had to deal with more questions than they'd care to about tony's attitude.

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  6. I moved to this block just as both these places were opening. Rants or not, the coffee at Breukelen is better and a large is $.50 cheaper. Thats what gets my attention.

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  7. Well I disagree with the above post on the coffee..As for his attitude its nothing like everyone is saying I've met him on a few occasions and he seems to be a wonderful person.

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  8. Tony is a fabulous person and I have met him numerous times. I have lived here for 2 years now and he has been nice to me since the first day I walked into the supermarket. The Pulp and the Bean is the best coffee shop around - great food, drink, and prices!

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  9. I don't think you people are being fair. Tony is a wonderful and kind person. Any owner who would take the time to sit with his customers and open up to concerns and questions is doing a good job in my book. WE LOVE YOU TONY!

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