Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Busy Chef Empire: Frozen Dinners or Homemade Cuisine?

Conflicting views of "the expanding Busy Chef empire" have been percolating through Brooklyn's blogosphere. The takeout establishment, with one store in Brooklyn Heights at the corner of Henry and Cranberry Streets, is getting ready to open at 111 Court Street (sometime in February, was the last word). And according to the Brooklyn Eagle, there are more stores planned for Chelsea and Fort Greene.

When Busy Chef opened on Henry Street, we ate the sandwiches and the Caesar salad several times, and found them to be delicious. But then came the change to prepackaged food and a decline in overall quality (though we must say that the baked items are still prime).

Commenters on sites like Brownstoner and Chowhound have expressed their opinions in the harshest possible terms. There's even a rumor flying around that the store won't survive to open on Court.

Then comes along this article in the Brooklyn Eagle about the extent of the work Busy Chef has nearly completed at 111 Court. Besides the parlor floor being totally revamped, a bakery and hot and cold kitchens are being installed below ground, and an outdoor patio is being built out back. (During the renovation, BC found "evidence of former Speakeasy trapdoors, ornate carvings and mirror placements in the basement.")

So what is the true identity of Busy Chef? TV dinners or fine cuisine? Popular Heights takeout or dead in the water?

More about 111 Court here.

- Busy Chef coming to Court Street

Photo by MK Metz

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hate to say anything bad because the ppl who work there are nice. Breakfast okay. Coffee okay. Cookies etc. great. Salads prepackaged. Seaweed salad great, even if it is prepackaged.Sandwiches inconsistent. Rather go to Cranberry's next door. Service good, usually no lines.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for someone to open exactly this kind of place for years. Cranberry's is great in the morning, but it's usually closed by the time I get home and the take-out choices in the 'hood leave something to be desired.
After having worked my way through at least one of every category, I hate to agree with the previous poster, but its pretty much inedible.
Oh well, back to Great Wall...

Anonymous said...

I don't know about busy chef but the cashiers at cranberry's have said that they are closing within the next few months.

bj said...

Don't say that!!! I LOVE Cranberry's. Can anyone confirm this?

Anonymous said...

Cranberry's is awful. I have gotten sick there several times. Go to Siggy's or Tazza for a good cup of coffee. I wouldn't be suprised if Cranberry's closes.