How do you trump a Make America Great Again hat? It’s easy. Go to Father Knows Best and snag a “Make Bushwick Great Again” snapback.
Just don’t get it twisted: Chris Taha and Colleen Makary, the Bushwick cafe/bar’s owners, aren’t Trumpkins, and they’re not insinuating that Bushwick has been less than great of late. “Some people don’t take it as a joke and think that we’re Trump supporters, which is really silly, because the whole idea is that we’re making fun of the thing,” Taha told us. “We’re just being silly and making fun of Trump.”
Taha came up with the hats, which sell for $15, during the New York primaries, when he noticed his customers were coming in to watch the debates. “I know it sounds super ghetto and really random but I just hit up my friend at Staples and she got them printed. I guess, no better place to get basic dad hats printed than a basic place like Staples,” he said.
Taha believes that “the whole idea of [Father Knows Best] is to help build community in an area where community doesn’t really exist,” but that doesn’t mean the hats are about Bushwick not being good. “It’s a really cool neighborhood and it’s kind of on the up and up, and there’s nothing else really out there,” he said. “It’s like a Williamsburg vibe like 15 years ago, where people can have fun and do art and goof around.”
His community-building efforts have included partnering with the local school to host art classes; commissioning street art duo Yok and Sheryo to paint the entire storefront; programming that includes live jazz on Mondays, local comedians on Tuesdays, “random parties and events”; and inclusive pricing. The menu at the “friendly neighborhood bar with dive bar-style pricing,” which Ian Bock of Brooklyn Star consulted on, includes offerings like an $11 “Sloppy Poppy” special (braised chicken, black beans, smashed avocado, queso) or a $5 PBR and a shot.
“It’s been a great turnout and people seem to like the space and enjoy the programming,” said Taha, adding that the majority of people think the hats are funny. Of the 60 he had made, there are about 10 left at the cafe and bar, where they’ve been on display near the espresso machine.
He sells snapbacks with a simple wave design at his Summers Juice & Coffee businesses in Williamsburg and Greenwich Village, but “nothing controversial, nothing making fun of anybody.” For the bar, he’s “probably going to do some more funny things,” he said.
We asked Taha who he’s planning to vote for, just to be sure, and he said, “They both suck. I wish we had a better option.” There you hat it.
Father Knows Best is located at 611 Wilson Avenue, between Decatur Street and Schaefer Street. The cafe and bar is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.