James Durazzo and Friends Go Out of Office To Setup Outdoor Gowanus Pop-up Restaurant

With their usual work places being anything but a restaurant, a motley group of friends have launched Durazzo & Friends, a food pop-up project at the weekly Mister Sunday dance party in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Grove. 

Working before your very eyes and without a hint of privacy—or a roof—D&F serves up pleasure in food and drink with nothing more than summer happiness in mind. Slightly akin to that friend or relative of yours who loves getting behind the grill and making sure everyone’s stuffed and satisfied--but with a 16,000 BTU grilling monster and with perhaps more premium ingredients and flavor variations. 

 James and Justin Durazzo were a core part of the original staff that helped Mile End Delicatessen  set up shop in 2010, while moonlighting on their day jobs; James is a finance analyst for the City of New York, Justin’s an interactive web producer at ad agency, Droga5.

Now the brothers have kicked off a venture where friends, who share as much of an obsession for food as they do for "out-of-office" side projects, can come together and cook at Mister Sunday, the infamous outdoor dance party running all summer by the Gowanus Canal. (Sundays 3 to 9 PM @400 Carroll Street).

Justin explains: 

We’re just a group of really tight friends that all want to have fun, cook high quality food and create an added experience to what is already an amazing event (Mister Sunday).


Apart from the Durazzos, the core group consists of two Frenchmen, Akoma M’ba and Thibault Gerard, as well as Swede, Johan Gerdin.

Every other weekend James gets assistance on the grill from Brooklyn-native Josh Orter, who recently made a name with Stupid Calculations – a blog that, just as the name suggests, features a series of ridiculous mathematical scenarios. 

Each week the group also invites a new 'friend' to who might assist with anything from line cooking to photography to decoration of the space. 

And with a menu sourced from local vendors such as Los Paisanos Butcher and Brooklyn Fare, and Caputo's Bakery  the food is keeping to the promise of quality. Moreover, Durazzo & Friends’ hundred-square foot grillery is an open space where Darth Vader masks float around as a Father's Day nod, plastic birds serve toothpicks, free cigars get randomly dispensed without any explanation, and line-waiting patrons find themselves reflected in a mirror scrawled with

You, looking totally awesome, free of charge.”  

Disposable cameras dangle from the trees to let customers play and interact while eating--unbeknownst to them, they're helping crowd-source photos for the D&F blog. 

James concludes: 

“We already see people coming back to us week after week. The food’s obviously the reason, but then we’ve also got an ambition to blur the line between food maker and food eater, to make it feel as though everyone’s a friend just getting in on the fun.”

Photo by: Maja Folgero