Yelpers Say Kitchen Nightmares' South Brooklyn Foundry Is Thriving

Whether or not we want to admit it, the reason shows like "Kitchen Nightmares" exist is that everyone who's ever dreamed of opening a restaurant (but knows they'll never do it) can have their schadenfreude moment as well as the satisfaction of knowing: Not trying means never getting publicly shamed by Gordon Ramsay. While, in theory, Ramsay's wrath is supposed to help the restaurants turn things around, in reality, a lot of them go on to fail within a few years. South Brooklyn Foundry, however, is one of the rare success stories in that, one, it's still in business (which is a win in and of itself) and, two, its Yelp reviews average 4.3 stars at the time of writing this.

It can be difficult to judge a restaurant by its crowd-sourced reviews when those are few in number or all date from several years ago, but this is not the case with South Brooklyn Foundry — as the most recent review at the time of writing was less than two weeks old. Scrolling through the ones over the past year or so, it seems that most patrons have no complaints about the food. The restaurant appears to specialize in what we'd call "hipster casual," meaning stuff like tomato jam-pesto burrata, goat cheese-roast eggplant flatbread with pomegranate molasses, and sake hibiscus spritzers, and patrons greet these trendy dishes with accolades such as "amazing," "fabulous," and "delicious."

While the food might get rave reviews, it seems service is still so-so

If you're a frequent Yelp user, you may be thinking that a rating of 4.3 stars isn't exactly "knock your socks off" impressive, and you'd be right. As the average Yelp review comes in around 3.8 stars, some in the restaurant industry feel a rating of 4.5 or above is necessary for a restaurant to be considered thriving. Plus, it may be that the bar's even higher for Brooklyn hipster bistros, as these are hardly in short supply. If the food at South Brooklyn Foundry is so great, what's dragging its rating down perilously close to the dreaded 4-star level that pretty much equates to "meh" in crowd-sourced review parlance?

Well, it seems there are a few issues with the service. Yelpers tend to agree that South Brooklyn Foundry staff is friendly but not necessarily as competent as might be desired. There are long wait times, proffered coupons may not be honored, and outdoor diners may be ignored. One customer was allegedly charged several dollars over the stated menu price for a burger that was already pretty expensive, even by Brooklyn standards. Perhaps the most damning complaint of all, however, comes from Trip Advisor, not Yelp. Admittedly it's several years old, but it seems at one point, South Brooklyn Foundry had a policy of not seating solo diners. Discriminating against anyone brave enough to eat alone is simply intolerable, so we sincerely hope the restaurant doesn't still have that rule.