‘Believe the Hype’ Column by Christine Stoddard: Farewell to New York Fashion Week but not to Brooklyn Fashion

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

Another New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has come and gone, not to stir up a storm again until September. As it stands, the “week” sprawls into nearly a fortnight come February. This year the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea rivaled Spring Studios, which had been NYFW’s hub for more than five years. Yet those are not the only sites where fashion shows take place; they are merely the ones where major designers trample the runway. But not every designer is a household name. There are designers who make a name (and a living) for themselves without being known by Midwestern housewives. 

A Brooklynite’s Foray into NYFW

Now, not being a household name does not mean obscurity or failure. Some designers prefer to be uncommon, aiming for a narrowly-defined customer versus aiming to be loved by all. On Feb. 10, The New York Times ran a story on B Michael, a designer who has dressed everyone from Beyoncé to Halle Berry. Yet you might get deer-in-the-highlights looks if you mentioned B Michael in Des Moines. While he has a new book out—a memoir called MUSE: Cecily Tyson and Me: A relationship forged in fashion—he had zero presence at this year’s NYFW. Maybe some designers, even successful ones, don’t want the hassle of producing a world-class event and all of the digital media content that is expected these days. These things require different skill sets than producing the garments themselves, and B Michael basically runs a three-man shop. However, not every designer can afford to be so selective when it comes to opting out of NYFW. Up-and-coming designers may feel they have to participate in order to get their name out there. 

Designer: Candence Caprice. Photo by Nani Creative.

This latter category intrigues me because they are fledgling artists fueled by passion. When Lina Neubauer aka “Rainstorm”, a current Fashion Institute of Technology student, invited me to model in her Rising Collective NYFW show, I jumped at the opportunity. This was a confident young businesswoman with a vision and several events under her (very stylish) belt. The fact that she was uplifting newer designers thrilled me. Most of them were FIT and Parsons students or recent alumni. On Feb. 17 at Dom Lounge in Gramercy, we—the show producer, designers, models, hair/makeup stylists, dressers, and other crew members—collectively made many dreams come true in one night. I especially loved the energy of Hayden Lehr, who had me model her mini skirt made of recycled soda tabs and a crop top bearing her line’s logo. Just 21 years old, this was her first-ever fashion show. I heard more than one person congratulate her for having such a cohesive look: punky but still modern and bright, with clean lines. You can find her on Instagram @haydenlehr. 

Rainstorm, who also goes by Rain, was generous enough to have the “Don’t Mind If I Don’t” comedy show attend the event. In the Jan. 25, 2024 edition of the Brooklyn Downtown Star/Greenpoint Star newspapers, you may have seen the article “Brooklyn Goofballs Release ‘Don’t Mind If I Don’t’ Episode on Bagpipes.” The whole concept of our comedy TV show is that fans and experts try to persuade my boyfriend,  Aaron Gold, to like things he hates. The TV show stemmed from Aaron’s long-running podcast. Now I am in the mix as his co-host/art director and we have a team lending their directing, cinematography, editing, and producing skills. So far, we have filmed episodes on bagpipes, psychics, Shakespeare, painting, and now fashion. The hope is to convince Aaron that fashion has aspects worth appreciating. 

Fashion Week Brooklyn

Last weekend’s fashion experience made me wonder: Why is there no Brooklyn Fashion Week? Google proved me wrong. There is a Brooklyn Fashion Week, but the name is actually Fashion Week Brooklyn. It just doesn’t have the cachet or visibility of NYFW because, as cool and creative as our borough is, Manhattan is still our city’s center of commerce. FWBK was founded by the non-profit BK|Style Foundation, which aligns itself with several social causes, from human rights to HIV/AIDS awareness, and also produces international fashion events that highlight Brooklyn designers. This year, we can expect FWBK on April 7 and 13 at Kings Plaza Mall in Mill Basin.

The storefront of MOSHOOD at
Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

In doing some digging about FWBK, I found out that MOSHOOD/Afrikan Spirit, a Bed-Stuy mainstay of three decades, is in on the action. This is yet another gem located at Restoration Plaza. When I recently popped my head in there on a Saturday, the spot was, well, it was the spot. MOSHOOD’s designs have appeared on BET’s Teen Summit, Queen Latifah’s sitcom “Living Single,” and Brandy’s sitcom “Moesha.” The line, which blends African tribal designs with Western flair, has the slogan “WEAR MOSHOOD, WEAR YOURSELF,” as well as the saying, “We focus on the ensemble, not just the pieces.” Through FWBK, Moshood showcased designs at V.O Curations in London on Feb. 17. 

Designer: Hayden Lehr.
Photo by Nani Creative.

Another Brooklyn designer in that same show (there were ones from the UK and New Jersey, too), was “Free.” This tongue-in-cheek designer is totally new to me. Founder Richard Kauli, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, declares a “distaste for the attention economy and mass surveillance of a free state” on the line’s website, the cheekily named FreeInQuotes.com. Three principles seem to guide the brand, which I am pulling directly from the Info page:

1. Lack of new/original thoughts and ideas as we consume mass media (group think)

2. Privacy is no longer possible (mass surveillance from governments and advertising companies)

3. Social media leads to constant comparison to others (lower life satisfaction and increase depression and suicide)

One example of a T-shirt you can buy from “Free” bears the words: “Great Minds Think Like Us.” Maybe calling “Free” anti-fashion would be more apt.

Snow at Floyd Bennett Field

But enough about fashion for now. While I believe the arts are essential to a beautiful, joyful, and meaningful life, I am also aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Physiological needs come first. After another snowstorm, I had to know: Did the tent shelter for migrant families at Floyd Bennett 

Field have heat? Did the shelter run into any issues during the storm? A couple of days would pass before I could head over there. That meant a week had gone by since my last visit, when I staked out the public transportation situation. By then, most of the snow had melted. It was easy to drive my car around and not worry about ice or running into a snowbank.

Floyd Bennett Field, with the remnants of the snowstorm.

I noticed that steel barricades had been installed since the previous week. They formed a corridor that went from the tent shelter to the bus stop. Families walking from the shelter to the bus stop, which involved going down one road, crossing another road, and then cutting across a large empty lot, largely stayed within the barricades. I noticed one little boy stumbling along the barricade, just outside of it to play in the bits of snow that remained. A man I presumed to be his father walked inside of the barricade, almost parallel to the boy.

I parked my car at the intersection before the large lot. In the couple of days leading up to that point, I had called and emailed organizations on the NYC 311 webpage entitled “Asylum Seeker Resources.” I have many questions and many stories I am researching to write about immigration in New York City. Only one source picked up the phone: the principal of Brooklyn Collegiate High School, who said that the list is horribly outdated. The school no longer provides resources for asylum seekers. This is why on-the-ground reporting still matters. We cannot count on the Internet for everything.

I got out of my car and stopped the first family to get some quick answers. In Spanish, I introduced myself and asked if there was heat in the tent shelter. The answer was yes. And were there any problems at the tent shelter during the snowstorm? Or since? No. 

What a relief! I look forward to finding out more about our city’s asylum seekers and promise to bring updates in the Brooklyn Downtown Star/Greenpoint Star.

Eyesore: Bedford Library

Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Bedford Library is closed for a major heating and cooling upgrade; it is expected to reopen in Summer 2024. If you have an eyesore in your Brooklyn neighborhood that you would like us to highlight, send us a photo at [email protected].

Letter From the Editor (Feb. 15, 2024 Edition)

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

Dear readers,

As I am writing this, another snowstorm has hit New York City. We humans are still so vulnerable in the face of nature’s whims. In 8th grade, I remember being assigned an essay with the prompt “Does Mother Nature or mankind have the upper hand? Explain.” I could probably write a different essay to answer this question for every year of my life on this planet. With industrialization, transportation, and any number of other human activities, we ravage the earth. Yet humanity has so many weaknesses when it comes to natural disasters. We are constantly at the mercy of extreme temperatures and precipitation, shifting tectonic plates, and furious seas.

This thought occurred to me once again when I recently visited Floyd Bennett Field. As you will read in my column “Believe the Hype” this week, I needed to witness just how bad the conditions were at the park itself. I wasn’t thinking about recreation; I was thinking about the migrant family shelter, where about 2,000 parents and children are living in tents. My mind was on the rainstorm that attacked the park (and the rest of our region) back in January, but I also wondered about public transportation there. After all, when you are waiting for a bus, which is the only public transportation option in that far-off swath of South Brooklyn, you are exposed to the elements. Some bus stops might have a modest roofed shelter. This one does not. It is not a pleasant place to be when it is raining hard or there are strong gusts of wind. Now that there is snow coming down hard, I can only imagine how much more unpleasant the wait at that bus stop must be. When you are a new arrival to this country, fleeing immense poverty and violence, chances are good that you do not have a car waiting for you here. You take the bus and, in areas where it is possible, the subway.

This morning, on my way to the office, I trudged through the snow, across uncleared sidewalks and through an even less cleared park. I took the train, first the G, underground, where the interior walkways were slippery with ice and covered in puddles the closer I got to the tracks. Then I transferred to the 7, walking up wet steps and onto a train that wobbled on tracks aboveground. Today, at least, I felt that Mother Nature has the upper hand.

Yours in all things BK,

Christine Stoddard

Brooklyn Community Editor

[email protected]

‘Believe the Hype’ Column by Christine Stoddard: Standout Asian Cuisine & Migration of Two Kinds

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

The best meal I had on the go this week–and, yes, I am so often on the go–was the Braised Chicken Congee Bowl at Maya Congee Café. Though I have passed the Fulton St. location in Clinton Hill on many occasions, this was my first visit. Decked out in red and gold, the quaint spot, which houses a small market, cheerfully reminded me that it was Lunar New Year. We are in the Year of the Dragon, which happens to be my Chinese Zodiac sign. How fortuitous.

View of Maya Congee Café front door. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Chino Grande

Now, my best sit-down meal of the week goes to Chino Grande, owned by Josh Ku of Win Son fame. Nestled on Grand St. in South Williamsburg, the Asian/Latin fusion restaurant even boasts regular karaoke. While I did not stay to sing my heart out, I have no regrets. The chic Mid-century design immediately pulled me in, setting a tone of relaxed sophistication. The green booths felt serene and the friendly staff contributed to the comfy atmosphere. My date and I delighted in the Chips (plantain, taro, and sweet potato) with the Sauce Caddy (Green Sauce, Ketchupmayo, Spicy Duck Sauce). We also shared the Crab Rangoon Toast and Pilón Smashed Cucumbers, and each ordered a Chorizo Egg Roll. For large dishes, I was very pleased with the presentation of the Twice Cooked Chicharrón de Cerdo (leeks, shishitos, fermented chili paste) and the lightness of the Salchicha Arroz Chaufa (longaniza, lap cheong, chorizo, red peppers, peas), which was the most guilt-free fried rice I can remember tasting. For a cocktail, I opted for the popular Chiquita Chinita (Mezcal, Red Bull Pepper, Toasted Rice), while my partner ordered the Ni Haody! (Rye, Jujube, Black Walnut, Sweet Vermouth). We finished with the tantalizing Ice Cream Sandwich (Maria cookies, guava, and cheese), which just so happened to combine some of my childhood favorites.

Chips and sauce caddy at Chino Grande. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Hardware & Discount Store

My biggest shock in the local business community this week was seeing that Fulton Home Center and Hardware Corporation is moving. You, like me, may better know this neighborhood shop simply as “Hardware & Discount Store,” as that is what’s printed on its awning. It is, or shall I say was, located near the Nostrand Ave. stop on the A/C. Now it is moving to 1507 Fulton St., by Kingston and Fulton. According to hand-written signs taped to the windows, the shop lost its lease after 40 years. I popped my head inside as movers cleared decades of inventory, and briefly spoke to the understandably frazzled owner, who took my business card and then had to get back to work. Any tips are appreciated.

Sign taped to the window of Hardware & Discount Store on Fulton St. in Bed-Stuy. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Floyd Bennett Field Migrant Shelter Bus Service

Family tent shelter at Floyd Bennett Field. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Ever since I heard about the migrant family shelter opening at Floyd Bennett Field, I have had concerns. The park is a known flood plain; on virtually any visit after a rainstorm, I have noticed soggy ground and huge puddles. In January, a rainstorm sent the city scrambling to relocate 2,000 parents and children from the tent shelter to James Madison High School in Midwood. Some Madison parents protested and there were complaints about how much sense the last-minute, poorly planned move made for a one-night respite.

Q35 bus stop outside of Floyd Bennett Field. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Apart from the flood plain issue, I have wondered about public transportation there. I have only ever driven to Floyd Bennett Field, located on the tailend of Flatbush Ave., going toward the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. There is a no-man’s-land quality to the park, which is littered with abandoned buildings and empty lots. The Q35 bus stop, which you will find just outside of the park, is a solid 5-7-minute walk from where the shelter tents are stationed. Make it 10 for the parents walking with younger children and strollers. In the nearly two hours I observed there on a windy Friday afternoon (after-school hours), the bus came three times. Many migrants waiting for the bus did not have proper winter coats. Their situation is dire.

Large empty lots stand in the way between the family shelter and the Q35 stop at Floyd Bennett Field. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Would you a weld a steel rose for Valentine’s Day?

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this review first appeared in Quail Bell Magazine:

The couple that welds together stays together. Certainly, I felt bonded with my partner (and frequent collaborator) Aaron Gold the night we hit up Craftsman Ave. in Gowanus for the “weld a steel rose” date night. We entered this gritty workshop fully expecting to try something new and get our hands dirty. And by “we,” I mean me. I hadn’t given Aaron too many hints about our destination because I wanted it to be a surprise. Surprises make date nights all the more thrilling! He knew we would be doing a couples activity and I had warned him to wear sturdy shoes and old clothes. Nada más. Upon our arrival, Aaron and I were warmly greeted by Chris Jeffries, owner of Craftsman Ave. and our instructor for the evening. He escorted us to a private workbench in a romantic little nook, separate from the rest of the small group in the cozy school and event space. Chris said he liked to give the date night couple their alone time and that he’s not one to hover. Even better? Chris kept his promise and let the workshop remain a secret until absolutely necessary. When the right moment came, Aaron was floored by the big reveal. Chris flashed several samples of gorgeous steel roses fabricated in that very workshop. Soon it would be our turn.

Craftsman Ave. is a place where beautiful but practical craft happens. We felt honored to not only witness the magic there but to conjure some of our own. It all happened step by step. Chris showed the group what to do and he made the rounds to ensure we were all on track. I’m the craftier of the two of us, so it was important to me that Aaron didn’t feel left out. That was the beauty of the process: Each step required different skills and could be improvised and personalized to some extent. Honestly, he was better at some steps than I was and it was satisfying to see a new side of him. It’s worth noting, though, that there is no “right” way to weld a steel rose at Craftsman Ave. There’s plenty of leeway to make your creation a unique expression of your love. Without the pressure of perfection, Aaron and I had a lot more freedom than I had realized we would when I booked this date night. Phew! And yay!

It wasn’t long before we got a hang of the basic process and were able to replicate the steps sans Chris. That’s where the lovey-dovey stuff came in. We had time to flirt, goof off, and just have fun together in a new environment. At a good stopping point, we enjoyed a bottle of wine from Gowanus Wine Merchants and a pizza from Table 87, which Chris had delivered. There was a comfy lounge at the front of the shop, away from the welding action, where we dined.

This was the first time either Aaron or I had ever welded. I had only done minor soldering in jewelry class about a decade prior. Welding and soldering are similar but different processes. Trust me—my “experience” barely counts. Despite being first-timers, we made something beautiful and felt totally safe doing it. After a relaxing four hours, we finished our first rose together! We even got to engrave and paint it, too.

We found this date night so remarkable for a few reasons:

1. We picked up a skill that looks super intimidating but, with the power of trust and love, is actually pretty manageable.

2. Chris is a delight. He knew when to pipe up and when to leave us be. Having some level of privacy is essential for date nights. That’s how you get to know each other better!

3. The food came to us. The menu was simple, delicious, and involved zero hassle in filling our bellies without derailing our craft project.

4. WE GOT TO TAKE HOME OUR CREATION AT THE END OF THE NIGHT!!! So many date nights revolving around crafts make you come back another day. For a variety reasons, this isn’t always practical. By the time we drove home, the rose was dry and ready for display.

5. None of our friends have done it! It’s truly a unique date night worth telling folks about. Everyone will want to see photos.

The verdict is in: You and your sweetie should consider welding a steel rose at Craftsman Ave. in Brooklyn. You’ll end up with a cute story and an eye-catching keepsake.

Find out more about this unusual date night idea at CraftsmanAve.com.

An LGBTQ Love Story in ‘Public Obscenities’

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

The following ran in the Feb. 8, 2024 print edition of the newspaper:

Abrar Haque (Choton) and Tashnuva Anan (Shou). Photo by Hollis King for TFANA.

A slow burn, Public Obscenities is a touching story about a Queer Studies PhD candidate who returns to his family home in Kolkata with his African-American boyfriend, a director of photography. Over the course of this 2-hour-and-40-minute play, the couple leans into many layers of pleasure and affect, discussing identity and exploring both the troubles and beauties of translation. This bilingual play, written and directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury, is performed in English and Bangla. The run, which began on Jan. 17, continues through Feb. 18.

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is the producer and presenter of this show. The venue is the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, which TFANA calls home, and is located at 262 Ashland Pl. in Fort Greene.

Remaining Show Dates:

Feb. 8, 7:30pm

Feb. 9, 7:30pm

Feb. 10, 2 & 7:30pm

Feb. 11, 2 & 7:30pm

Feb. 13, 7:30pm

Feb. 14, 7:30pm

Feb. 15, 7:30pm

Feb. 16, 7:30pm

Feb. 17, 2 & 7:30pm

Feb. 18, 2 & 7:30pm

Letter from the Editor (Feb. 8, 2024 edition)

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

The following appeared in the Feb. 8, 2024 print edition of the paper:

Dear readers,

On the cover of this issue, you will find a photo of a man named Francis. I met him in 2018 while living in Crown Heights and he was one of many neighbors whose photo I took. There is something so intimate about taking someone’s portrait: asking for a few moments of their time, maybe longer, and trying to capture something about essence. Maybe it is their essence. Maybe it is the essence of an era or a mood. The objectives can change from portrait to portrait, assignment to assignment, project to project. I do not know anything about Francis and his life now. I know that our paths crossed in late winter a few years ago, when I was still finding my footing in Brooklyn as a hopeful transplant. I also know that he is a Black man and that representing people of color and marginalized groups in our borough is part of my duty as community editor. There is no one way to be a Brooklynite. I am proud to wish you all a happy Black History Month. In last week’s issue, the love in honor of this annual observance began and in this week’s issue, the love continues.

One person I am excited to profile for Black History Month is Jada Bennett of Bay Ridge. Jada and I met in the theater world while working on a production together in 2022. It was through that relationship that I learned that Jada is not only an actress but a dancer, singer, beauty pageant queen, and an invaluable member of the Brooklyn Cyclones staff. This Minor League Baseball team plays out of Maimonides Park in Coney Island. Jada is captain of the team’s Surf Squad, sings the National Anthem at their games, and more. I interviewed her for “Badass Lady-Folk,” my Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV show, and transcribed part of the episode here for you to read.

Speaking of contacts from the theater world, I am also thrilled to introduce you to Laurence C. Schwartz, a director I have worked with since 2021. He wrote a book about his experiences as an adjunct professor. One of the many institutions whose classrooms he has graced is Kingsborough Community College, part of the CUNY system. An excerpt about his time there appears in this issue.

Now, onto reading!

Yours in all things BK,

Christine Stoddard

Brooklyn Community Editor

‘Believe the Hype’ Column by Christine Stoddard: Revering African Artifacts and New Mexican Fare

By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]

I stand corrected. In my previous column, I cited statistics about Brooklyn’s Black population using numbers provided by Brooklyn.org. While there was nothing wrong about those numbers (to my current knowledge), Matt Sollars, vice president of the non-profit communications firm Anat, sent me an email about Brooklyn.org. In my column, I wrote that Brooklyn.org was run by the Brooklyn Community Foundation. This was because, at time of press, the website’s footer, Brooklyn.org lists this: “© 2024 Brooklyn Community Foundation DBA Brooklyn Org.” But notice that there is no period between “Brooklyn” and “Org”–and if you didn’t know, DBA stands for “doing business as.” Sollars explained that last fall, the organization underwent a name change. Thus, Brooklyn Community Foundation became Brooklyn Org, and still runs the website Brooklyn.org. In his message, Sollars wrote: “The name change is driven by the org’s mission to engage with all of the borough’s communities and to open up philanthropy to all of its people. Brooklyn Org wants to be a platform and hub for Brooklynites to organize and support efforts to help each other and build the borough.”

It is exciting to receive emails like this for a few reasons: 1. I see that people are reading the column. 2. I get the chance to correct or clarify statements to better serve readers. 3. I learn more about our borough. 4. I feel invited to improve upon future columns.

An Overdue Museum Visit

Since the last edition of “Believe the Hype,” I have stopped by the Cultural Museum of African Art – The Eric Edwards Collection. Or at least “stopping by” was my intention. It ended up being a full-fledged visit, cut short only by other appointments. Every day for months, I have walked past this museum. The grand opening took place on November 18, 2023 only a couple of blocks from my home. This event happened prior to my coming on as community editor of the Brooklyn Downtown Star and Greenpoint Star. Had that not been the case, I might have joined some of the illustrious folks in attendance: Dr. Eric Edwards, founder and executive director of CMAAEEC; Stefani Zinerman, NYS Assemblymember, District 56; Rodney Leon, architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument, the “Ark of Return” at the United Nations, and CMAAEEC; Ambassador Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai of Sierra Leone; Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, chairman of the United African Congress; and others. Opening a museum is a political game that requires funding, which Eddie Gajadar, strategic project manager for CMAAEEC, told me has been a process for the institution.

A view of artifacts on display at CMAAEEC. Photo by Christine Stoddard.

By the numbers, CMAAEEC is an impressive collection (re-read last week’s edition for the stats), but, more importantly to me, it is a moving one. I am more likely to be swayed by art than data. The confusing jaunt around Restoration Plaza and to the office space above the Applebee’s was all worth the trouble when I saw the exhibition. African sculptures, masks, and objects of veneration that have been collected with care from across the continent are a rarity. As Gajadar mentioned, much of the African art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is from East Africa, not spanning the whole continent. Yet Dr. Edwards, founder of the collection, which originated from his home in the 1970s, has taken great care to give these pieces a respectful public resting place. Gajadar told me that Dr. Edwards was a successful AT&T engineer and global salesman, achieving results that were largely unthinkable for an African-American man in the 1960s. African art became his investment—and obsession.

The CMAAEEC space is minimal, quiet, and full of light, allowing for reverence, reflection, and joy. That is the power of intentional design. I personally felt very peaceful looking at the works and then out the windows (yes, all of them), onto the bustling Fulton Street, one of the many arteries where Brooklyn street life pulses. It is fitting that CMAAEEC, a tribute to African ancestors, exists in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the capital of Brooklyn’s Black cultures.

Santa Fe BK

Another place that recently brought me joy and evidenced intentional design was Santa Fe BK in Williamsburg. John Watterberg, who owns the New Mexican restaurant with his wife, Melissa Klein, told me that what he hopes patrons most feel at their establishment is love. Watterberg, a native of Albuquerque, and Klein, a native of Milwaukee, first met in Brooklyn while working as a bartender and waitress, respectively. “We fell so in love in Summer 2007,” he said. And that love infuses the restaurant, which is warm and evocative of Southwestern aesthetics and hospitality.

My partner and I ordered (and highly recommend) the following: the Watterburger, Taco Salad, Chicken Flautas, and Chips & Queso. For drinks, we shared three cocktails: A Good Margarita (which is more than good), Queensmoot, and The Dornishman’s Wife. For a future visit, I am curious about the Enchiladas, as well breakfast burrito options available from 8am to 3pm, or “until they’re gone.” Note: I capitalized the names of the aforementioned dishes to indicate their exact names on the menu so you can order those specific things should you wander over to Santa Fe BK. Maybe for, say, Valentine’s Day.

Melissa (left) and John (right), the married couple behind Santa Fe BK.

While the restaurant has romantic vibes, Watterberg assured me they have a high chair and do serve families, with many dining before 7pm. Watterberg and Klein are parents themselves, with a 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl. Their children’s favorite item on the menu is the Bacon Burrito, without the Green Chile so beloved by many adult patrons.

One of my favorite touches at Santa Fe BK? Complimentary Sopapillas with honey. The fried pastries reminded me of the family-style restaurants of my Northern Virginia childhood—Uncle Julio’s in Arlington and Anita’s in Fairfax, for any other NoVa transplants reading this.

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