A haven of peace and creative space in Brooklyn for the queer community
When Eric See closed the Awkward Scone in June 2020, he considered leaving New York entirely. “I took a road trip with my dog to determine my next moves,” he recalls, “but when I got back to Brooklyn I was supported by all the community building I saw. during a summer of protest. ” He had to stay.
In lack of money, See made two pop-ups at Claire Sprouse’s house Hunky-dory– but instead of focusing on the baked goods he was known for, See designed a menu closer to home. “I decided to build on my New Mexican heritage and serve Hatch chili burritos and sopapillas,” See says. His pop-ups were a huge hit and soon he turned a small storefront into a permanent home for Ursula, a new Mexican cafe named after his grandmother. Soon, lines of breakfast burrito seekers meandered along the sidewalk each morning.
With the buzz surrounding Ursula, See thought about how to pay it off. “Hunky Dory gave me the opportunity to start a new business,” says See, “and I wanted to do it for my queer community. Starting in February, See invited six LGBTQ + chefs to host a pop-up at Ursula, and he insisted the guest chefs keep the income they’ve generated since Sprouse did the same for him.
The series started with See’s friend Woldy Reyes, who had lost much of his restaurant business during the pandemic. “Eric gave me a safe space to test my concepts and share my food,” says Reyes. Part of that security comes from the fact that Ursula’s staff are extremely queer. “I’ve worked in kitchens that were very toxic – transphobic, homophobic,” says Hender Gonzales, who works as a sous-chef at Ursula and also took part in the pop-up series, showcasing Peruvian street food from their youth. . “Eric has given us the space to dictate what kind of culture we want.”
What started out as a six-count series has grown into an ongoing project as word of Ursula’s pop-ups spread. “Ursula is built on the idea of being in community, not just to exist within a community, ”says See. “Our queerness is rooted in caring and support, and we will continue to be there for our queer and trans family for as long as the need is there.” –MacKenzie Chung Fegan, Trade Editor
Get the recipes:
A delicious way to fight food waste in Denver
Terence Rogers was not always so disjointed. When he launched his pop-up catering business Foods to be determined in 2014, he focused more on sourcing quality local ingredients than on their use. But after an internship at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, where he worked with cooks around the world and learned about sustainability, his vision changed. Realizing that he could boost both the environment and his bottom line by using even the smallest of his ingredients, he launched a weekly pop-up of sandwiches with leftover TBD Foods. His food received such rave reviews that he opened Sullivan Scrap Kitchen with co-owner Holly Adinoff (they’re married) in Denver last summer. “Ultimately it’s about reducing food waste, but it’s also about adding more flavor to every dish,” says Rogers. “By taking the time to extract more flavor, it helps the environment and allows us to provide better food to our customers.” Here, he breaks down ethics without ingredients in one of his flagship dishes: seasonal gnocchi. –Allyson Reedy, writer