No more speculation is required about the construction happening at the corner of East 37th Avenue and Williams Street, because the secret is out: The location will soon be home to a new French eatery called Brasserie Brixton — a neighborhood restaurant that will serve approachable dishes (with easy-to-pronounce names) while executing classic French techniques, according to its owners.
The idea for Brasserie Brixton originated a few years back, when Justin Morse and Matt Daniels, mechanical engineers, began daydreaming about opening a restaurant. When the opportunity arose for investment resources, Morse and Daniels began the tedious process of transforming their vision into reality.
They chose the name because "brasserie" is French for “brewery” and also refers to a relaxed-setting style of restaurant, while Brixton is the name of a district in London and represents the more westerly influences of the new concept. Having studied and worked in Montreal for eight years, Morse explains that French cuisine was the direction he wanted to go, but he also wanted to break the hoity-toity stereotypes often attributed to French restaurants. Inspired by cherished memories of the dining hangouts in the 3rd and 11th districts of Paris (picture Parisian versions of RiNo), Morse emphasizes that “French can be really fun and really accessible.”
The new restaurant will feature a laid-back ambience and an approachable menu for neighborhood patrons. In addition to the dining room, and nodding to its brewery-inspired name, the spot will also include a small bar.
Directing the menu and kitchen operations for the team is chef Nicholas Dalton, previously of Mercantile Dining & Provision. Seeking a break from cooking, Dalton had enrolled in engineering classes when he serendipitously crossed paths with Morse and was reeled back to the kitchen to become chef for the new venture. Additional team members include Ross Goldberg, a general manager with experience at Rye Society, and Amy Keil, an architect with inside knowledge of construction planning and permitting.
This past May, Rivers and Roads, a nearby coffee shop at 2539 East Bruce Randolph Avenue, loaned the team its kitchen space for a pop-up dinner. Serving Dalton’s dishes and executing Morse’s service vision for the first time, the team was energized by the preview of what’s to come, Morse notes.
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Morse and Keil, residents of nearby Whittier, hope Brasserie Brixton becomes a walkable spot the neighborhood can be proud of and turn to for evening meals and a diverse wine list filled with imported options and reasonable bottle prices, as well as wines on tap for more casual drinkers.
Built in 1884, the brick structure is no stranger to food retail and was previously a bodega. When complete, the remodel will accommodate two storefronts: Brasserie Brixton and another yet-to-be-determined business.
An opening date has not yet been confirmed, but Brasserie Brixton hopes to open its doors within a few months. Until then, you might spot Morse at the site digging trenches and installing plumbing. If the wine served at Brasserie Brixton is anything close to the delicious glass of buttery white wine Morse shared while discussing this project, then Cole denizens can prepare for some bons temps!
Brasserie Brixton is located at 3701 Williams Street. For more information, visit the restaurant’s website.