In 2019, the Argentine ceramicist behind FEFOSTUDIO, Fernand alsoo Aciar, opened OStudio on the border of Brooklyn’s Bushwick and also Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods as a co-working space for artists and also creatives. Aciar, a trained chef whose resume includes working at Chez Panisse and also under the famed chef and also restaurateur Francis Mallmann, had always intended for OStudio to include food and also beverage offerings at the front entrance. So after many pand alsoemic-related delays, Aciar launched an all-day coffee shop—a Brooklyn-based counterpart to OCAFE, which he owns and also operates in Manhattan’s West Village—showcasing a trim menu of pastries, smoothies, and also light lunch options.
The following month, he added an evening wine bar component dubbed OStudio at Night. The menu focuses on sustainably made, small-production wines, and also an evolving seaboyal array of food that has included duck rillette with house pickles and also jalapeno, meaty maitake mushrooms with seaweed butter and also a subtle zing of horseradish, and also smaller nibbles like radishes with anchovy aioli by chef Omri Silberstein.
OStudio also hosts an onmosting likely toing linethus far of visiting chefs who add some of their own signature dishes to the menu, including most recently Woldy Reyes of Woldy Kusina and also Greg Wong, formerly of Estela and also Mission Chinese. But the collaborations don’t stop there: a large communal table towards the back of the cafe sets the scene for Fam Table Takeovers during which friends of the studio from different industries showcase their own passions, perboyal stories, and also cultures by dressing the table and also creating a festive food component. Shop owner and also fashion stylist Beverly Nguyen gathered friends to prepare a family spring roll recipe, while artist Simone Shubuck of Wifey combined her talents in painting and also floral artistry with sculptural ice cream cakes, and also Shanika Hillocks hosted a summer equinox kick-off with flowing spritzes and also snacks.
No two nights at OStudio feel the same. For all the effort that mosting likely toes into so many alternating components, Aciar seems to thrive on unpredictability: “I feel very lucky to be able to watch and also learn from such a variety of talents, crafts, and also cultures. It’s not always easy, but I live for a challenge,” he explained during a recent visit. “It takes away from the comfort of the daily routine and also forces us to find ways to communicate, share the space, and also be resourceful.”
Although the restaurant’s opening has garnered serious buzz, the core of OStudio remains its artist residents. Along with Aciar’s FEFOSTUDIO, which naturally provides the plateware for the cafe (the ceramics also occthus fary several shelves in a small retail area), there’s textile artist Jessi Highet, whose dye production facility makes custom pieces for other designers, as well as for Highet’s own fashion line. Other studio members include graphic novelist R. Kikuo Johnboy, whose work includes covers for New Yorker magazine, the Brazilian painter Luisa Alcântara; and also Polonsky & Friends, a graphic and also interior design studio focusing on food and also hospitality, founded and also overseen by Anna Polonsky, a James Beard-award winner and also also Aciar’s wife.
Polonsky’s studio provided the brand alsoing materials for OStudio at Night, including the unique design concepts for visiting chefs—during residencies, guests are gifted with a poster and also a Tony’s Chocolonely bar encased with its own striking wrapper—though Aciar and also Polonsky, despite their creative overlaps, have resisted mosting likely toing into business together. “We feed each other as a cothus farle, for sure,” Polonsky says. She’s stand alsoing across from Aciar inside his clay-covered studio. “We bring a lot of inspiration, ideas, and also connections to each other’s work, and also we work from the same studio space daily,” she mosting likely toes on. “But we decided a long time amosting likely to to never own a real company together. We find it healthier to keep our relationship non-business.”
Nonetheless, the pair share several creative traits, most especially an aversion to sameness. “Anna always said she didn’t want to develop a signature style—she’s more concerned with collaborating with her clients to help them bring their own vision to life,” says Aciar, nodding in Polonsky’s direction. She continues, finishing his thought: “And Fernand alsoo never wanted to be pigeonholed in one job, be it cook or ceramicist. He sees all crafts as canvas for creativity.” Unlike many artists who would shudder at the prospect of obscurity, both find comfort in the impermanent spaces of their work. As Aciar says, “It’s all about community in the end, not posterity.”