Photos by DENY Media Group @denymediagroup
Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Guyana. I came to America as a teenager. My family and I lived in East New York during our first few years and eventually moved to Queens.
My husband is from White Plains and his parents are Austrian and Haitian.
Jesse and I lived in Bushwick for the past 3 years.
what is 191 Knickerbocker?
Myself and my husband have many years of experience in the restaurant industry but 191 is our first time as small business owners. We are a family owned comfort food restaurant and bar.
We’re a global comfort food restaurant. Our eclectic menu is a reflection of our own family dynamic of multicultural backgrounds. The food comes courtesy of the classically trained Chef Jesse Davis who chose to step away from fine dining expertise to create and celebrate meals that are down home and made with love.
Jesse is also a DJ and is known for creating memorable playlists at 191. Jesse’s food is the heart of 191 and his music is the soul. Pre-COVID we also hosted Open Mic Nights that are now virtually ongoing thanks to @thisbushwicklife. We’re grateful to be able to provide a platform to all the amazing artists that were part of the community of 191.
Why did you choose bushwick?
Bushwick immediately struck us as a special neighborhood because of the way most folks seemed to be conscious of gentrification and fought to preserve native Bushwick businesses.
Bushwick inspired us to think “outside the box” from the very beginning. Being a multicultural family, Jesse and I were inspired by the diversity of the neighborhood and created a thoughtful accessible menu because we instantly wanted to be part of the solution to help bridge cultures and communities.
The last thing we wanted was to open a restaurant near a Starbucks or a Target.
When is 191 Knickerbocker reopening?
We’re uncertain at this point when or if we’ll reopen. There are many factors to consider, delivery and take wouldn’t cover all of our expenses, it may in fact cost the business more to open. The volume of business will not even be half of what we were doing previously.
In addition, we prefer to consider our clientele and their financial challenges of not being able to order take out as much.
We also don’t qualify for the PPP/Grants and haven’t received any help so far. The application process is very black and white and being in our second year of business, we didn’t have sufficient tax returns and/or profit and loss information. We also have a very problematic landlord who is not forgiving of unpaid rent due to COVID. As of now, we’re waiting this out and thinking outside the box to make ends meet.
How has COVID19 impacted your business?
It knocked us off our feet and we’re uncertain of how to navigate through the chaos.
Where do you see Bushwick in the future?
I see Bushwick being an incredible community, leading by example of co-existing and not making room for corporations that would destroy the quintessential small business.
Describe Bushwick in one word?
Immigrant Built America.
Where do you like to hangout in Bushwick?
Tortilla de los hermanos, Molasses Books and Father Knows Best.
Address: 191 knickerbocker avenue, bushwick, brooklyn 11237