Louis and George Brindley weren’t looking to open a restaurant. Both in their early 20s, the brothers were content with their respective jobs within the industry: Louis in the back as a cook, George out front as a manager. In the future, sure. Just not right now.
But when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a family friend looking to leave his gig as owner of sandwich shop Chubby’s at 33 Mill Road in Eastchester, the duo couldn’t say no.
“We just went with it,” younger brother Louis said. “We didn’t really plan it. We just signed the lease and then figured out what we were going to do.”
The Brindley brothers, who come from a family of restaurateurs, decided to stick with the spirit of the sandwich shop, though they weren’t content with simply offering your typical corner store fare.
“It’s a step up, something that you can’t really get at a deli,” Louis said of the offerings at their restaurant, Mason Sandwich Co.
The brothers work side by side in the kitchen to create what they call craft sandwiches. Louis, who has worked in a number of posh eateries in the area, wanted to bring that same fine-dining vibe to his new venture. Priced at about $10, their “upscale sandwiches” include roasted pork paired with broccoli rabe, beets and fried goat cheese and beer-battered Chatham cod topped with a red cabbage slaw.
Inspiration for the diner’s menu comes from a variety of sources. Some items are updates to classics, like the BLT. or the shrimp po’ boy, while others are interpretations of Louis’ favorites, like the “53rd & 6th,” which boasts New York City cart-style chicken with a white yogurt sauce and harissa, a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste.
The latter dish was “inspired by nights out in the city, when the only thing that’s open is the halal carts,” Louis said. “It’s good, but it’s not good, so I wanted to make a different version of it.”
The brothers gutted the one-story building in Eastchester and completed the entire $75,000 renovation themselves with the help of their grandfather, an Italian immigrant and stonemason whom the grandsons honored in naming their restaurant. Financing the buildout and startup costs in a three-way split with their father, the Brindleys also paid $15,000 upfront for expenses that included the shop’s inherited kitchen equipment.
For the brothers, working together is nothing new. The duo started a number of money-making enterprises together, from shoveling driveways as kids to selling snacks in elementary school.
“We both started working in restaurants, so it was just natural that was going to happen,” Louis said of their fraternal venture.
In choosing the restaurant industry for their first venture, the brothers are on familiar ground, coming from a family of restaurateurs and deli owners. Louis said his grandparents owned the former Lido Restaurant & Catering Center on City Island until the late 1990s and an uncle, owns Stanz Cafe in Larchmont.
Twenty-three-year old Louis said he got his start in the Brindley family business at 14 and began cooking at 17. He graduated to the kitchen of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Square and The Cookery’s DoughNation pizza truck. He was also a sous chef at Fortina in Armonk.
“How I used to cook, the canvas would be a plate,” he said. “I look at the canvas as a piece of bread now.”
The eatery also offers milkshakes and an assortment of salads, soups and side dishes. Soon, the brothers promise, customers will be able to enjoy a craft beer along with their craft sandwich.
Though the Eastchester sandwich shop only opened its doors in March, the Brindleys hope to eventually expand the business to Rye, Greenwich and even Manhattan.
“I have other concepts I would want to do with Mason,” Louis said with a smile. “I’m always thinking.”