You don’t have to want to pump iron, hammer a punching ball or slam a squash racquet to join up at Brooklyn Athletic Club.
But you might want to come packing an appetite because chef Jeff Axline is ready to feed you at this new social house opening next week -- Dec. 26 is the expected date -- in the former home of Zimm’s Little Deck at 601 Richmond.
Owner Shepard Ross, man behind Glass Wall (and who collaborated with Lance Fegan to open BRC Gastropub in 2010), said that his new project will be ready for customers in the busy post-Christmas week.
The restaurant gets its name and inspiration from the neighborhood social/dining clubs that Ross’ grandparents used to frequent in their native Brooklyn, N.Y.
“This is a club where everyone’s a member,” said Ross. “I had the idea for this a long time. And when the space came up so fast, I couldn’t pass it up. I felt this could be a fun thing.”
Indeed, there seems to be a lot of fun built into the operation that will offer two dining concepts: The Clubhouse, a 45-seat, diner-style, full-service restaurant, and the BAC Yard, the restaurant’s expansive back yard that will feature a bar and a menu serviced by a Brooklyn Athletic Club food truck offering burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, brochettes, fish tacos, hand-cut French fries and sausage platters. The back yard also is a place for games like darts, horseshoe, croquet, bocce and badminton.
In the Clubhouse, Axline plans to offer a little more than 14 items on the menu of re-imagined classics from the Italian (pappardelle and meatballs) and Jewish (house-cured corned beef Reuben sandwich) staples of New York dining. A list of daily specials also will feature a catch-of-the-day, steak, pasta and a market salad.
The project reunites Ross and Axline, who left Houston in November 2010 for a job at the Lakeway Resort and Spa in Austin. The two worked together at the Four Season, Glass Wall and BRC, where Axline was the opening chef.
“It feels like we’re getting the band back together,” Ross said.
For Axline, it’s a homecoming.
“It’s good to be back home – back with friends,” he said. Foodies who missed Axline’s culinary thrills will be happy to know that the intimacy of the dining room ensures that he’ll be interacting with practically every customer.
Brooklyn Athletic Club plans to be open for dinner for the first week then will segue into lunch at some point.