Walking into Beatstro, diners will think they’ve stumbled upon a record store plucked from the ’70s or ’80s. The speakeasy concept is a creative “insider” interpretation of the borough’s Hip-Hop block parties, like the ones pioneer Grandmaster Flash used to host, before finding fame in the ’70s. We don’t want people to feel like we came in and changed things; we want to keep it as familiar as possible. We’re very sensitive to what’s going on in the Bronx. Shelves full of X Clan and Def Jam vinyl — with a few more current options, like Wu-Tang Clan — set up the “speakeasy” entrance, separated from the dining space by a black curtain.
Owned and operated by Bronx natives, the owners hired local artist Andre Trenier to create the wall murals, which in one case portrays a famous Harry Chalfant photograph of DJ Kay Slay. Bronx-based graffiti writer SKEME painted the trains above the open kitchen and the black books on another wall, recreating classic tags and pieces when needed (artists like COPE and several writers among the Beatstro staff chipped in here as well). And there are classic prints hung everywhere from photographer Joe Conzo, one of the great chroniclers of the area during late 1970s and early 1980s.
Beatstro's menu is filled with food you would have been served at that time in this area, with some dishes given a gentle update. The Crispy Pork Rinds are sprinkled with BBQ spice and spritzed with fresh lemon. The row of Fried Green Tomatoes can be dipped into spicy-sweet papaya and mustard sauce. Viera's Fried Chicken is crackling and juicy and served with blue-cheese slaw and hot honey. There's a Jambalaya entree, Cajun Catfish, and Jerk Pork Belly Ribs. Specialty cocktails can be (big)punnily-named affairs, like the Method Man-hattan, for example.
135 Alexander Avenue, The Bronx, NY, 10454