It’s just past three in the afternoon on a Tuesday, shortly after schools get out, and Windsor Terrace parents—backpacked kids in tow—keep popping their heads through the door of Butterfunk Kitchen. Although they won’t officially be open until 5:30, co-owner Eugenie Woo greets them all warmly, by name, as this is a neighborhood where restaurant debuts are cause for community celebration.
Especially when said eatery is a soul food mecca and rollicking juke joint, spearheaded by Woo and her husband, chef Chris Scott (also behind the pioneering Brooklyn Commune, located right next door). They were even able to draw on some of that local good will for a final fundraising push prior to opening weekend—offering investment opportunities in exchange for supper club credit.
Befitting a true neighborhood establishment, Butterfunk is obviously a deeply personal venture for Scott and Woo, as indicated by a cache of family photos—dating back well into the 19th century—on the avocado-colored walls. In fact, the entire space is outfitted to look like grandma’s country kitchen, down to an AM transistor radio (actually attached to a toilet paper dispenser) located inside of the floral-papered bathroom, as well as the ancient eggbeaters and china cupboard tucked behind the bar.
That being said, Scott channels his roots primarily through food. He interweaves generations worth of recipes from his Southern ancestors with various Pennsylvania Dutch mainstays, and references his childhood spent in Philadelphia, a mere stone’s throw from Amish Country. That means you can follow up hearty platters of lemonade-brined fried chicken with crispy fingers of catfish napped with jalapeño jam, stacks of mustard-slicked ribs puddled with spicy corn salsa, and a slice of molasses-rich shoo-fly pie (although it will be hard to resist the apple roly-poly—a warm, cinnamon-scented dumpling from a reciped passed down from his grandmother).
Taking a page from Brooklyn Commune (renowned for its smoked soybean take on the BLT), there are even cutlets of not-so-virtuous chicken fried tempeh on offer, liberally coated in batter and blanketed with stewed tomatoes and viscous pinwheels of okra. Because even Windsor Terrace vegans should be able to feel the funk.
1295 Prospect Avenue, Windsor Terrace