Like seemingly everywhere else in this part of Brooklyn, Fulton Street around Restoration Plaza has seen a wave of new development these past few years, with shiny new residential buildings and storefronts popping all up and down the block.
Fortunately, plenty of these newcomers are of the locally-owned, small business variety, intent on serving the community as it stands, rather than providing “an oasis” for whoever might soon be moving in. The excellent El Jeffe, for example, continues to attract a nice local crowd—my usual: the stellar Jerk Pork Burrito—and a new, very DIY juice joint called Green House just opened around the corner on Kingston Street.
Joining the Fulton Street fun last week is Spudz, a counter-service spot specializing in a variety of loaded-up fries. Spudz is owned and operated by Forrest Greene, and though this is his first solo venture he has plenty of local restaurant experience, having worked for two years at the popular CakeBoi Shop right nearby. And Greene practically grew up at his family’s place Two Steps Down, the soul-food institution that had a decades-long run on DeKalb Avenue.
The concept at Spudz is simple: there are four types of french fries, an array of seasonings, and a whole bunch of meats, vegetables, and sauces that you pile on top of your potatoes. You can build your own box or pick from among the eight or so menu “favorites” with names like The Brunch (with fried chicken and spicy honey) and El Frito Loco (with jalapeño cheese sauce, corn, and black beans). The fries and toppings are all cooked and assembled to order so it takes a few minutes to get everything ready, but the wait is worth it as everything arrives hot and fresh.
I ate four boxes of fries for dinner last Saturday and enjoyed it all. The Waffle Fries, which I blanketed in a white cheese sauce, were probably my favorite from among the potato options, but the Crinkle Cuts were also pretty great. The latter came with the extremely dessert-y and quite delicious Grandma’s Pie, which featured crushed cinnamon streusel, ribbons of caramel sauce, and a small scoop of mascarpone over sweet potato fries.
The kicky Kingston Avenue is highlighted by chunks of jerk chicken, sticky fried plantains, and mango salsa, and the limited-time-only Beach House comes covered in shrimp and crab salad. The fries for these last two were Natural Cut, and they were fine: mostly crisp on the outside, mostly soft and fluffy within. There are no non-fry items on the menu, other than water and a couple of soft drink options.
(Scott Lynch / freepicker)
Greene is a young man and the look of Spudz was clearly designed with Instagram in mind, featuring a hand-painted punny quote just begging to be snapped, and the Fry Wall, an amusing take on those butterfly/angel wing murals which people never seem to tire posing in front of.
Spudz can seat about ten people at a time, mostly at stools, and the music is a well-curated mix of deep-cut hip hop.