A gourmet sandwich shop has joined the rush of new restaurants opening on Franklin Avenue.
Taste Buds, a partnership between longtime Franklin Avenue business owner Kevin Phillip and film director Michael Fink, opened mid-June.
The cheerful shop, located at 736A Franklin Ave. between Park and Sterling Places, replaces Phillip’s About Time Boutique, which will continue selling its Crown Heights-themed t-shirts and offbeat men’s clothing from its website.
“About Time was already turning into an online kind of business, most of the clients were e-mailing me,” said Phillip. “I was watching other boutiques, too, they were disappearing.”
Since Phillip had a five-year lease on the space, he and Fink looked around for a new business and saw a gap between the new sit-down restaurants—such as , and —and coffee shops such as and that focus on coffee and pastries.
“We realized that there wasn’t any take-out or quick-on-the-go spots—even for lunch, nothing to just grab and go," said Phillip. "We wanted to create that on the avenue for the people who have a lot to do during the day."Have you signed up for our newsletter? Click here to get local stories like this one in your inbox every morning.
The shop offers nearly two dozen varieties of sandwiches, croques monsieurs (a French grilled ham and cheese sandwich) and paninis, as well as charcuterie and cheese plates, hot dogs and side salads. Prices range from $1.95 for a farro side salad to $3.95 for a hot dog to $6.95 for a BLT sandwich to $9.95 for a large charcuterie plate. There is also a kids organic PB&J for $3.95 and veggie or beef chili for $4.95.
Phillip said the prices were about right for the economically diverse neighborhood.
“I think we fall right into the bracket where everybody fits. We can get them lunch for $8.95, even with soda and chips it’s under $12,” he said.
The shop also offers a few select grocery items, including artisan mayonnaise from the on Vanderbilt Avenue and gluten free pasta. (The cooks use Empire’s mayo on two of the sandwiches.)
Phillip and Fink, both longtime area residents, got together after Fink became a partner in the year-old ice cream and sweet shop , owned by Phillip’s wife, Garnett.
Fink, a communications consultant who grew up in the Bronx, directed several films in the 1970s including Force Four, aka Black Force, (1975) and Velvet Smooth (1976). He also worked on Mars Attacks (1996) and Avatar (2009).
He moved to St. Johns Place between Underhill and Classon in 1990 and five-and-a-half years ago moved to Park Place between Classon and Franklin.
Phillip, 40, was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canarsie, But he spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s Crown Heights home and Franklin Avenue was “like a second home,” he said. An electrician by trade, Phillip has been living on Franklin Avenue for the past two decades. He opened About Time Boutique in 2008.
The Phillips also organize and raise thousands of dollars each year for the annual , a free carnival with water slides, climbing walls, rides and other activities, which Phillip started four years ago.
Eli Blumm, manager at Little Zelda down the street, said he was pleased to see another eatery open in the neighborhood—especially one owned by Phillip, since he and Garnett were a big help when the cafe was getting started.
“They were so instrumental in helping us put this place together. And I’m really happy to see them open another place,” he said.
"People come in here asking for sandwiches all the time and it’s good to have someplace reputable to send them,” he added.
Taste Buds, 736A Franklin Ave., between Park and Sterling, 347-435-0076, is open 12-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-8 p.m. on Sundays. They deliver with a $10 minimum between Fulton and Carroll Streets and Flatbush and New York avenues.