The Hester, an underground kosher supper club, is about to see the light of day as a brick-and-mortar restaurant: a kosher small-plates bar on Washington Avenue in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, which is seeing a spike in Jewish residents who have been priced out of neighboring Park Slope.
The restaurant, tentatively named Mason And Mug, is the joint project of Hester founder Itta Werdiger Roth, a chef who has worked in both restaurants and for private clients, and Sasha Chack, who in a 10-year restaurant career worked his way up from dishwashing to the head of food and beverage at the recently shuttered 92Y Tribeca.
The name’s nod to Mason jars, the jam-making gear favored by the locavore Brooklyn set as glassware, sets the tone for the place, which is scheduled to open at 708 Washington St. in late October or early November.
“We’re definitely going for that DIY Brooklyn aesthetic,” Chack, 29, said, adding that he wants to distinguish his place from the typical kosher restaurant that has formal table service and prices to match. “It will be very accessible, very casual and all kosher.”
The Hester, run by Roth, 31, on a roughly monthly basis out of her Ditmas Park Victorian, had a similar vibe. It managed to steer clear of zoning violations by stating in fine print that the charge for the food was actually a suggested donation. The snarkily-named, often-organic treats — like Vegan Shmegan pizza and cantaloupe basil ice cream — drew a funky crowd of artsy chasids and earnest foodies.
Mason And Mug will not serve meat, but the focus will be more on fish and vegetables than on dairy in the restaurant, which will seat about 35 people inside and also has a 10-person garden space. Chack and Roth are still shopping around for the right kosher supervisor.
As for the Hester, Roth doesn’t want to say it will never happen again. But she is shifting her focus to the restaurant. “We will definitely try to keep that Hester energy alive,” she said, “but we’re still in the early stages.