Fort Reno Provisions feels like it has been around forever. It is a deceptively worn-in and comfortable barbeque joint on Union Street in Brooklyn where diners can cozy up to a tray full of grass-fed, hormone free, lovingly smoked meats, an organic beer, and the best cornbread in town while being surrounded by the history of New York's most populous borough. That's because almost all of the building materials used in Fort Reno's construction were reused from demolition sites in the neighborhood.
Gautier owns Fort Reno Provisions with business partner Anthony Laudato. Lia Forman holds down the fort in the kitchen as Pitmaster — she was Gautier’s sous-chef at Palo Santo before moving across the street. “The aesthetic really is about reuse but it is also about saving money, we were on a tight budget,” said Gautier who learned the craft of building with reused materials during the construction of Palo Santo, his decidedly delicious and beautiful latin food restaurant across the street.
One entire wall of the restaurant is covered with a mirrored mosaic made from broken pieces of glass found trashed behind a glass cutting warehouse in Brooklyn. Gautier said he and his team of builders — which consists of himself and his sous-chef, Trinidad Perez, from Palo Santo — kept returning to the warehouse until they had enough salvaged glass to cover the wall. They of course, carried all the pieces back to Fort Reno on foot.
The ceiling is wrapped in wall slats commonly found under the plastic walls of older buildings. The slats were reclaimed from a demolition site across the street from Fort Reno. “Places like to talk about recycled wood and this and that from a farm in Pennsylvania. They have to truck it here and that uses gas,” Gautier said, mentioning that he didn’t have to pay much for his reclaimed materials because the building sites were just going to throw them away. “Using recycled anything that is supposed to be sustainable should also help your bottom line. You shouldn’t pay more for it.”
Though Gautier knows that barbeque probably isn’t the most sustainable of culinary choices, the team at Fort Reno does it as sustainably as possible serving grass-fed, hormone free food from local suppliers. When telling us about why they chose barbeque he noted, “people love it. If they are going to eat it anyway at least do it sustainably.”