Six and a half years in the making, All Hands is finally about to open. It started as a dream from founders Craig Shillitto, Jay Lehman and myself, Gideon Klein. We wanted create an intimate dining experience in the neighborhood where we live.
The goal was to make exceptional food with impeccable service, in a custom designed environment, allowing our guests a unique dining experience. So in 2011, we decided to start the project, and found the perfect location, in South Williamsburg – a neighborhood that wasn’t saturated with restaurants or gentrification yet. Craig knew this neighborhood and building very well. After three long years of lease negotiations, we embarked on a challenging renovation. During this process, we added two very important members to our team: Executive Chef Peter Lipson, (formerly of Northern Spy Co.) and General Manager Sadie Roncelli (from Alta Linea and L’Artusi.) Craig would handle the deign and architecture, while Jay and I would help to raise the money for the project. And now, two and half years after we signed the lease, we’re almost at the finish line. We need additional capital to help open the doors.
Peter Lipson’s food is beyond compare. The menu he’s developed for All Hands is seafood focused, using local ingredients and globally influenced flavors. Personally I was sold as soon as I tasted Peter’s tuna pastrami. But his other dishes like Grilled Octopus and Passatelli pasta with littleneck clams are pretty amazing too!
The neighborhood of South Williamsburg has undergone a dramatic transformation over the course of this project. The sheer volume of inhabitants is increasing exponentially.
There’s really no other place in New York City like All Hands. The location is in a fabulous old building - previously a carriage house and metal workshop. The character and soul of the building has been maintained throughout the renovation. The restaurant has two distinct floors and dining experiences. Upstairs, the original wood floor has been restored and offers three external exposures with dramatic views of the Williamsburg Bridge and East River.
Downstairs features an open kitchen, bar, lounge, and dining area that emote a distinct speakeasy feel. It’s also designed as a perfect place for private dining events.
Opening a restaurant in NYC isn’t easy. One could say it’s getting almost impossible unless you have corporate backing, very deep pockets, or are part of a large restaurant group. Just look at all the vacant storefronts in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. We knew renovating an old historic building and changing its use into a restaurant was going to be a challenge. We were prepared for many potential stumbling blocks. However, many of the City’s building rules and procedures have changed over the past two and a half years. There have also been unforeseen issues with the age of the building that have created a more complicated filing process as well as additional construction and renovation costs. The resulting delays have been difficult for a small restaurant group to absorb. It has put us in a position where we are reaching out to our friends and the Kickstarter community to help us move past this last hump, and open-up.
That’s why we need your help.
All Hands is positioned to meet the need of the growing population, while staying true to the character of the original neighborhood. We’re almost there but we’re looking for support from friends, family, and the Kickstarter community to help us open with the best chance for success. We’re offering some special reward packages which are detailed to the right.
We firmly believe All Hands will be a great asset to the neighborhood, to the community, and to the NYC restaurant scene at large. We’d love for you to be part of the All Hands family.
Risks and challenges
Restaurants involve a high degree of risk. Risks include inclement weather, fluctuating food costs, staffing issues, and other market factors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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