Who are the people in your neighborhood? That's what we set out to find with our new column, Local Natives. First up, Joshua Boissy, co-owner and director of operations for the wildly popular Williamsburg oyster bar Maison Premiere.
We love every aspect of this lively joint, which is inspired by the parlors of Paris and the saloons of the Big Easy: the Belle Epoque references, glistening bivalves, and Delta blues sounds. It comes as no surprise that the dapper Boissy has his hand in all aspects of the business, from staffing to event partnerships to new menu items. Here's his take on Brooklyn today.
Current residence: Carroll Gardens.
Take on the current scene: The scene is influential, unconventional, revivalist. It’s youthful, inspiring, creative. Truly American. There’s a lot of creativity born out of Brooklyn that can only happen in a city like Brooklyn — people have the courage to do things a certain way here.
Take on restaurant culture: What’s really amazing is that the movement that restaurateurs and chefs and bar managers have been building has become almost mainstream. Ten years ago you would have never seen single-origin coffee on a menu at a large restaurant or cocktails with proper ice or a bar program. The movement has really been turned up a few notches as has the dining experience for the customer.
Favorite destination: The River Café is my all-time favorite spot in Brooklyn. I’ve been many times over the years to have dinner with my family. Looking at the city literally right in front of you, while you’re in this beautiful French-American restaurant sipping champagne — it doesn’t get better than that. It's quintessential New York.
Best BK pastime: It has to be sitting in the garden at Maison Premiere in the summer, drinking rose champagne and eating oysters with friends. I also really enjoy watching service as soon as happy hour starts (Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m.), watching the production start, watching the staff start engaging, all of the sounds and energy coming together. Being able to observe it is a great way for me to understand the evolution of the customer experience.
First moment you felt like a real Brooklynite: When Jay Z and Beyonce came in after their opening concert at the Barclays Center. It was amazing (to us) that Jay Z chose that moment, that historic event, to come to this Brooklyn establishment. Jay Z is to my generation what Elvis was to my parents' generation. It was the day when it felt like we made something great. They embody the Brooklyn community. It just very much validated the effort we’ve put into the place.
Dying to visit: I’m really looking forward to Franny's new place, Marco’s. I think they’re doing a great job at Franny's, and I look forward to seeing what they do with double the space. Red Gravy is not too far from me either, and I’ve been meaning to check it out.
Neighborhood to explore: Ditmas Park. The historic Victorian houses are supposed to be untouched and I really want to take in the architecture.
Brooklyn hero: Pauly Randazzo — owner of Randazzo’s Clam Bar — an 80-year-old red sauce Italian joint out on Emmons Avenue, that has been consistently great ... forever. I’ve been going for years, have taken my mother there for her birthday, and visited after Hurricane Sandy — they re-opened in about two months despite a lot of damage. The food is always delicious and well done. Pauly really embodies old-school Brooklyn, and I admire his resilience.