(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Except for the case of a fire, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much active interest in a single building as I did on my visit to Industry 1332. I spent one short evening at the brand new, still in-the-works restaurant and bar that sits less than a block from the Halsey stop on the L train, which compared to the Morgan and Jefferson stops, is a sleepy holdout. Throughout my visit I was confronted with several curious passersby who seemed to think the restaurant is a harbinger of something that’s about to start raging in this part of Bushwick with fury equal to a fire.

Moments after I’d knocked at the side door, waiting for the owners, a youngish guy passed by and nodded, “Good job.” I looked after him and he turned around, smiling. I sensed more than a hint of sarcasm.

While I wandered around the brick-exposed, refurbished wood, and industrial chic interior– something so familiar in Brooklyn that to call it commonplace would be cliché– I noticed at least a few people craning their necks from the sidewalk, standing on their toes, looking through the windows past the rows of matte, freshly sanded blockish tables, beyond the hanging workshop lamps. When I was shooting photos outside a woman stopped me, “Hey, do you know what this is?” she inquired.

When I spoke with the owners, Daury Grullon and Ariel Infante, the two acknowledged their neighbors were definitely curious. “People are very excited,” Ariel said. “The feedback has been great.”

from left, Daury Grullon,  Ariel Infante, and the design team (Photo: Nicole Disser)

from left, Daury Grullon, Ariel Infante, and the design team (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Daury chimed in: “There have been plenty of times when we stopped what we were doing and just showed people around and tell them what we’re doing, we even offer them a beer when we’re drinking beers.”

He added, “It’s funny because one time, one of them walked out and said, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, thank you,’ but in the back of my mind I’m like, wait, I’ve been here for 15 years.”

Ariel said he and his partner “can literally walk to where we live.” Daury’s house is just two blocks away.

Though they avoided mentioning gentrification explicitly by name, the partners were determined to show their commitment to the neighborhood. “We’re going to be here for a long time, so we want to do the right thing,” Ariel said.

“We’ve seen the changes in this neighborhood,” Daury acknowledged.

Though the contrast between this new establishment and the rest of the area is a stark one, there’s still a lot of work to be done on Industry 1332 before the operation will be fully functioning. The owners say they’re aiming to open sometime in May, but some very important aspects of the business model seem only partially fleshed out. For one, the owners were only able to tell me vaguely that the restaurant will serve “tapas” and beer and wine at first until they’re able to get the full liquor license. They hinted that the beer focus would be neighborhood-centric. “We gotta have the local beer, there are two breweries moving into the area,” Daury said. “One is Queens Brewery and then you have Bridge and Tunnel.”

“If you look at our tables, they are medium-sized, so we want to come out with small plates, and it’s like they say– good things come in small packages,” Daury said. “It might just taste better, I dunno. But when it comes to food, the way I think, it’s all about presentation.”

“We also have a good feeling it’s going to be high volume,” Ariel added. “And small plates will come out faster.”

There is no chef at 1332 just yet and no menu. One of the interior designers, at the restaurant for a meeting, looked at me and asked, “You know a good chef?” I think she was only half joking.

Ariel explained that initially his wife wanted to be at the helm. “Unfortunately she doesn’t have the experience, but that’s why we have to get a chef so she can work side-by-side with them.”

As far as price is concerned, Ariel promised dishes would be $25 “at the most.”

The two plan to provide entertainment at the restaurant (“live jazz,” said Daury) and eventually move into the brunch game (“Who doesn’t love breakfast on weekends?” Ariel said). But above all the owners say they want to create an inclusive atmosphere, a welcoming environment for the whole family. Ariel pointed to the long communal table in the main dining area, explaining they’d like to accommodate large groups.

The fact that a business model came before an actual food concept even was maybe less surprising when I found out Industry 1332 is both Daury and Ariel’s first venture as restauranteurs. “I’ve had a little kitchen experience you could say,” Daury said.

Ariel, on the other hand, has never worked in a restaurant, but says he and his wife have always loved to entertain. “I’m of the attitude if you have the right tools and the right guidance and do everything straight, then anything is possible,” he said. “We read a lot of magazines and articles and just follow the trends.”

And the place is definitely on trend: exposed brick, street art murals, bare pipes, reclaimed wood, and industrial lighting. But the owners explained the industrial chic look is actually a nod to the neighborhood’s history.

“Factories have become residential in the area, so we figured we’ll just get the industrial back in the game and make it a restaurant,” Ariel explained.

(Photo: Ariel Infante)

(Photo: Ariel Infante)

But it seems not everyone sees the new restaurant as in harmony with the neighborhood’s past. When a reader tipped us off to Industry 1332 they wrote: “I’ve lived on that block for a decade, and though it’s been slowly gentrified, this is a whole new level.”

And it’s true, the only thing in this neck of Bushwick (just a block from the Ridgewood border) that’s remotely in the same category as this new restaurant is Houdini’s Kitchen Laboratory, located a couple blocks east. But down the block there’s your average bodega (no “organic” anything signs in sight), Chinese take out on the opposite end, and around the corner, a gaggle of old Latino men chattering while they sit on PVC buckets. 

As I was leaving the restaurant, a young woman walked by and gestured toward the building. “Did you see this?” she said to a guy she was with. “Our rent’s gonna go up.”

Industry 1332 is located at 1332 Halsey Street in Bushwick.