In its first venture outside Portland, Oregon, Bunk Sandwiches is bringing its “kids food for adults”–and “best breakfast sandwich ever”–to Williamsburg. The causal sandwich shop will replace well-loved Italian spot Max at its Driggs Avenue location on the corner of South 3rd Street later this year.
Bunk, started by Tommy Habetz (formerly of Mario Batali’s Lupa) and Nick Wood, has five brick and mortar locations in Portland, Oregon, plus a food truck and stands at two Portland sports stadiums. “We’re pretty ingrained in the food culture there,” said managing partner Giorgio Angelini, who’s lived in New York City on and off for 10 years and said he’s noticed a disturbing gap in the food scene. “It’s funny because we assume there are a lot of really great sandwich shops in the city, but you ask people where they go to get a sandwich and almost all of them rely on some version of a bodega experience,” he said.
At Bunk, all the sandwiches will be made in-house under the purview of Jake Adams, former chef de cuisine at Momofuku Milk Bar. “What we’re trying to do at Bunk is create a standard menu and an ethos that allows each kitchen manager to make their own specials,” Angelini said.
So, think Pret A Manger or Chipotle, but more individualized. Bunk prides itself on surprising customers with its specials and seasonal offerings, like its pork-belly rueben (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives), and that magical summertime combo of bacon, lettuce and tomato (one of the chain’s current specials). “A lot of innovation can happen within the classics,” Angelini pointed out. The secret ingredient in the famed egg-and-cheese on a hard roll? A touch of house-cured anchovies.
The restaurant will offer counter service but also plenty of seating for a quick sit-down experience. For those who stay, there might be some rice-wine cocktails as well as a “really inventive punch program” (Brooklyn Community Board 3’s SLA Committee supported a wine and beer license at a meeting yesterday).
Bunk is hoping to open in late October or early November, just in time to do a holiday-themed turkey and stuffing sandwich special, though for many the change is bittersweet. Angelini said he’s a fan of Max himself and is sad to see the neighborhood favorite go. The Italian restaurant closed the doors to its East Village location in 2012 to move to Williamsburg, so fans will now have to travel to the remaining TriBeCa location to get their fix of Max’s no-frills Italian fare.