The Crown Inn is no longer just for cocktails. It is now the home of the city’s coolest new sandwich shop. Rachel Wharton of Edible Manhattan magazine filed the following report.
At a tiny counter at the back of a Brooklyn bar, Black Tree Sandwich shop makes from-scratch hoagies that are sloppy and delicious, served on soft rolls from Caputo’s in Carroll Gardens. Think house-braised short ribs with blue cheese dressing and wilted greens or crunchy broccoli rabe covered with a melty cheddar sauce and rosemary garlic potato chips. The place is run by two dudes who are following their dreams, Sandy Hall and Mac Sillick, who by day is a shooter for NY1's political unit.
“We’re sitting around with a bunch of friends saying, what would you do if you won the lottery? ‘I’d open up a restaurant! I’d open up a bar and we’d all own it together!’ So why don’t we just do that anyway, without winning the lottery, you know? We don’t need the lottery,” Sillick says.
Inspired by a listing of the city's best subs, they decided to focus on sandwiches. But as they were searching for investors, the owner of a bar in their neighborhood offered to let them take over his tiny kitchen. Now Sillick is the waiter, his brother is the cook and Hall is the head chef, riding to Union Square Greenmarket on his bike several times a week.
“I go around to all the different vendors and fill up these big, huge, blue bags that they give and just pack it as tightly as I can into my bag and put it on my shoulders and ride the 10 miles back out here,” Hall says.
As a result, his menu changes frequently. So eat that portobello, goat cheese and strawberry balsamic jam sandwich now, as it might be gone tomorrow.
“We just did a really nice fiddlehead fern sandwich and it was only out for two weeks and that was kind of fun,” says Hall.
Cooking in a bar means low overhead and built-in customers but there can be drawbacks.
“Our biggest thing here is people asking us for beer and also asking where the bathrooms are,” says Hall.