Country cooking finds a home in Brooklyn
by Andrew Shilling
Jun 06, 2013 | 905 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Meghan Love and Jeff Lutonsky
Meghan Love and Jeff Lutonsky
slideshow
Greg Manis
Greg Manis
slideshow
Opening the doors to Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall, the city streets of Williamsburg are kept outside at Meghan Love and Jeff Lutonsky’s southern haven.

Straight out of Grandma Mable’s cookbook, racks of ribs, pulled pork and chopped beef brisket sandwiches are as authentic as they come, down to the Dustbowl-era, southwest American tea.

“This whole restaurant is a tribute to my mom and my grandma,” Lutonsky said behind is burly country beard. “It’s mostly family recipes, and if they weren’t, then it’s something I knew I wanted to cook that my mom and my grandma used to cook.”

When opening the restaurant, Lutonsky connected with his past, rummaging through the old family cookbooks for “snippets” of recipes for inspiration.

Everything is made from scratch, from the coleslaw and in-house pickled beets, to barbecue sauce his grandma learned how to make working in a roadside café on the prairies of Oklahoma.

“I would just play around with whatever it was and go through revision after revision until I got it tasting just the way my grandma used to make it,” he said.

Like his mother’s country restaurant back in Oklahoma, Mable’s has an authentic interior decor with chairs they found in yard sales and flea markets on a road trip back from Texas.

The tables are made from old ceiling joints they bought from a Bushwick lumber supplier, and the walls are kept true-to-home with partially exposed brick and wood from a barn in upstate Chautauqua.

“We’re breathing life into that nostalgia of remembering the way your childhood was when it was in its heyday, when everything was in its prime,” he explained.

Before opening Mables, Love and Lutonsky were both struggling artists, working second jobs and living their version of the American dream.

Opening in January 2011, the two are now going on their third year in the business and have never felt more comfortable in their craft and their decision to set up shop in Brooklyn.

“We like the fact that you can walk in here and be transported and feel like you’re not in New York anymore,” Love explained.

With her lifetime of experience working in restaurants and his grandmother’s recipes, the two have managed to make a living out of something they love.

“It’s not high end, it’s not gourmet and it’s never going to be,” she said. “It’s just an affordable type of place where you can sit all day and have a good time.”

Greg Manis, originally from Dalton, Georgia, is a regular at Mable’s and even has a drink named after him.

It’s called, “The Beach Nut,” a name he acquired off the Hank William’s song, “A Country Boy Can Survive,” when he first moved to Brooklyn 10 years ago.

“It’s vodka and sweet tea,” Manis said. “How could you go wrong?”

Like Lutonsky, Manis too wears a thick southern beard, and though they might all be displaced southern artists, together they have found a home in Brooklyn.

But if you ask Manis, he comes here for the food.

“It’s hard to find good barbecue in the city, so around here this is pretty much it,” he said. “I’m a pulled pork fan and the collard greens are some of the best I’ve had in a longtime.”

“And The Beach Nut, the drink,” Manis recommended.

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