Heirloom, local, heritage, seasonal, sustainable, organic. These are all things I flock to, and all are incapsulated in Chalk Point Kitchen’s menu and general philosophy. We recently sat down with Matt Levine, a local entrepreneur, restauranteur, and owner of Chalk Point Kitchen and indieFORK, a New York City inspired food and beverage company, to talk all things food, drink, and brunch, of course.
Bitches Who Brunch is teaming up with Chalk Point Kitchen to celebrate National Philanthropy Day on Sunday, November 15th. Simply bring an old coat to donate during brunch (11 a.m. until 4 p.m.) and receive a complimentary avocado toast! Make brunch reservations directly with the restaurant.
Why a coat drive for National Philanthropy?
While being Philanthropic should be part of our daily routine, I wanted to make a difference and create a feasible charitable opportunity for the busy and hustling New Yorker, which can be impactful and effective in helping those in need as we approach winter. We all have old coats which take up space in our apartments, donating our winter wear for those less fortunate and in need, go a long way.
Tell us about Chalk Point Kitchen – what’s the philosophy behind the restaurant and its amazing brunch?
The philosophy behind Chalk Point Kitchen was to create a true artisan & heirloom, organic, sustainable; and most important – a locally sourced ‘market to table’ and ‘farm to table’ restaurant. Pristine [organic and locally sourced] vegetables with bold and creative flavor profiles, innovative and high level composition, while sourcing our produce [meat and fish] environmentally and socially responsible. Besides wanting to impact and inject financial support to our farmers, fisherman, purveyors, and local markets, we try our best to contribute positively to society through healthy, nutritious, humane [grass fed, free range] purveyors and sustainable fishmongers and vendors.
What sparked your love for using heirloom and local products?
I’ve always focused on building neighborhood first and foremost, through supporting local organizations [such as Lower East Side BID and SoHo Strut] and with Chalk Point Kitchen, we get to utilize our Chinatown [Asia Market Grocery, Hong Kong Market] and Little Italy [Alleva Dairy, Piemonte Ravioli Co] backyard, local markets such as Union Square Green Market, while also sourcing from the Tri-State [Bo Bo ‘Buddhist Style’ Poultry Farm, Blue Moon Acres, Satur Farms] area. Knowing what you are eating, where it comes from, how it is grown, and the travel [carbon footprint] time – all have its various benefits from a health and quality control standpoint. We list all of our farms, markets, and purveyors on our menu, we owe it to our guests to know what they are eating and where it is sourced from. We try our best to source locally wherever and whenever possible.
What is your favorite brunch item to create?
Well, we offer brunch seven days a week at Chalk Point Kitchen, so this is difficult, but during the week we offer Artisan acai Bowls. This antioxidant-rich fruit bowl with our The farmACAI creative toppings (bee pollen, goji berries, flaxseed, hemp seeds) is my daily weekday goto, while on the weekends, I gotta give it up to our crispy cauliflower burger with spicy hummus mayo and Freddy’s avocado hash.
How often do you personally visit the local markets/suppliers you get your ingredients from?
I actually just got back from a Los Angeles trip, which comprised of daily trips to the farmer’s market and a weekend in Santa Barbara, visiting wineries. While in NYC, I would personally love to visit our local markets/suppliers more. I leave that to our amazing kitchen team: Chef Joe has put our concept and mission statement to life, while Chef Freddy does an amazing job visiting local markets day in and out. We have daily market specials with what Chef Freddy collects at the markets, and he is constant contact with local farmer’s and purveyors to ensure the freshest produce.
What is your all time favorite ingredient to cook with?
Hmmm, my favorite all time ingredient, I really enjoy utilizing pomegranates, nutrient dense and the most powerful antioxidant of all fruits. Try tossing the seeds on a salad, not only to add a beautiful color and texture, but also adding a nice crunchy to any and every dish, with a plethora of health benefits and nutrients as well. Not to mention, we have a killer pomegranate mojito at Chalk Point Kitchen, yes, pomegranate mojito. And speaking of pomegranate, and on the topic of brunch, we have buttermilk-coco-pomegranate waffles, made with house-made raspberry preserves, toasted coconut, and fresh pomegranate.
Aside from what you cook, is there another cultural cuisine you can’t live without?
Hummus, hummus, hummus, I can live off of hummus, so I would have to say; Greek / Middle Eastern it is. Ok, now I want some hummus…
What’s your favorite New York brunch (besides your own, of course)?
This is a trick question, because I feel as though I am giving away my little neighborhood gem, but hey why not… besides supporting local businesses within my business, I’m also a big advocate of personally supporting locally as well in my daily routine, it’s my entrepreneurial spirit. There’s this small ‘mom & pop-esque’ spot on Sullivan Street (near Houston) called Sullivan Street Bistro with a really great brunch menu and selection. While when I lived in the LES, FrgtMeNot was my Sunday staple.
If you could open any restaurant or concept in New York, what would you build?
I would love to continue to enhance awareness with organic, healthy, and socially responsible restaurant concepts and menus, leaving a positive footprint in our industry and more importantly, our society.
What’s next for you and IndieFORK?
Hopefully a lot of coats donations for those in need on Sunday, November 15th!
Join us for brunch at Chalk Point Kitchen on Sunday, November 15th! In celebration of National Philanthropy Day, donate an old coat and receive an avocado toast for free.