Spotlight on… Yuda Holzberg
Business Name and Position: Main House BBQ, owner
Location: 6001 Strickland Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Years in Business: 30 years in business, 6 months for Main House BBQ
Number of Employees: 15
When people think of barbeque food, they tend to think of the classic burger and hot dog, or maybe a smoked meat, but we have exceeded those expectations by offering a fine dining barbeque experience. This is something that is not offered anywhere in America! We offer personal service and a superb quality of dishes both in taste and presentation. Basically, we are an upscale version of your standard BBQ.
2)I understand you added Moshe Teitelbaum to your staff who is known in the community for his excellent culinary expertise.
Yes, Moshe is our executive chef and he gets the credit for helping us change the image of Main House BBQ in terms of looks and flavor of the menu. He created many of the recipes and dishes and showed us how to plate and present them in ways they are not typically done. We are working together to constantly revamp and update the menu and bring our customers new, friesh ideas.
3)Most people look forward to being milchig and enjoying a slice of pizza on Motzei Shabbos, but you have a different take on it.
Let’s get creative! At Main House BBQ we offer a fleishig pizza pie. I know what you’re thinking: what?! Who would want to eat that?! I assure you; it doesn’t even taste fleishig. When customers walk through our doors on Motzei Shabbos they are always initially skeptical about being flieshig, but after tasting our amazing meat pizza pies, they are blown away. It has beef, arugula, tomato sauce, and fake cheese all on a large flat bread. It continues to be one of our most ordered items on the menu.
4)You are known for your smoked meats, especially your brisket. What kind of a smoker do you use?
We have a large J & R smoker that was made in Mesquite, Texas. What’s great about our smoker is that you see it, but you don’t smell it. I have heard customers (mostly women) complain that they don’t like to frequent smoke houses because the odor gets into their hair and sheitels and then they have to rewash it to get that smoke smell out. At Main House BBQ, we have perfected the science of smoking so it’s the just the right amount injected into the food and atmosphere. You definitely feel the smokiness in the food, but it’s not to the point where it is a noxious odor and it dominates all the other flavors in the dish.
5) How did you accomplish that?
It truly is a science that takes time to perfect. There a lot of technicalities to smoking. You need to figure out when and where to smoke, how much, at what temperature, for how long, wrap or unwrap, what kind of wood chips need to be added etc…
6) Wow! It sounds so complicated. How did you initially get into smoking?
I feel in love with the whole taste and process from a cousin of mine who lives in Texas. He used to bring me a piece of smoked brisket every time he came to New York. It was good, but I wanted to try it fresh. He taught me the ins and outs of smoking meats. Brisket can be a tough meat to prepare, but if you mastered smoking, it is transformed into a delectable piece that is moist and very flavorful and versatile.
7) What is your favorite item on the menu?
Definitely my Dino ribs. They are tender, dripping in sauce, and packed with flavor. I eat it almost every day and never get sick of it. I remember once a customer asked for a steak knife when ordering this, and I told him that won’t be necessary, the meat is so juicy and soft that you don’t need a knife to enjoy it.
8) What is the most popular dish ordered?
There are three contenders. We are known for our kosher bacon burger, which consists of fake bacon, a soy-based cheese, lettuce, tomato, homemade pickled jalapenos, brisket, and our home-made garlic sauce. It is so good that I have had non-Jewish customers tell me it’s better than the real thing!
The smoked brisket is very popular as well as the Dino ribs I mentioned before. We also offer insane fries which are fried broken up potatoes garnished with parsley and garlic which is then served with our homemade chipotle sauce. Another notable mention is our amazing Cesar salad, which also has a non-dairy cheese making it taste really authentic.
9) Isn’t there some controversy surrounding serving fake bacon and cheese dishes?
Why is that? Some people have a yetzer hara or tayvah and are curious to know what a cheeseburger tastes like. By offering foods like this, we are essentially removing that desire from their minds. Now that they have it, they can see that is it really no big deal and their yetzer hara won’t get the best of them.
10) I noticed that you are always on top of your reviews, frequently communicating with people who have shared their negative comments and offering them a free meal. Why do you so this?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when an owner of any business doesn’t care about his customers. For me, customer serve is my top priority and I believe that the customer is always right. If someone doesn’t like the way his burger came out, I’d rather go back in the kitchen and get it right and have him leave happy then worry about the cost of another burger. I appreciate when customers come to our establishment, I want to make sure the food was met to their satisfaction. I want to know that they enjoyed their meal. They are not here to do me a favor. You should just know the good reviews far outweigh the bad and the funny part is, those few people that posted a bad review, when I offered my hone number and a chance to come back and eat for free, nobody called back, not a single person.
11) In the summer, patrons love dining outdoors but what about in the winter?
Just because it is winter that doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy outdoor space. We built a 50×40 tent out back which is heated. It is decorated in a rustic fashion with bricks and wood. This same theme is carried over to the tables. Customers love eating out back.
12)People assume a barbeque place focuses only on meat, but what about the desserts?
I am so glad you asked! With the help of Moshe, we expanded our dessert menu. We are known for our signature fried Oreos, but Moshe upped the game. Now, we offer fried babka which is dipped in our house-made batter and topped with ice cream; it is the ultimate dessert. We also have a lava, which is a Belgium waffle with chocolate cream and marshmallow smores all melted in our house batter. It is an explosion of flavor! Of course, i must mention our apple cobbler with crumb topping and churros, which are flavored with cinnamon and filled with peanut butter and jelly.
13) What’s next for Main House BBQ?
We are looking into the ability of hosting sheva brachos here by adding a tent to our outdoor space in the back. I also want to create a meeting place where people can sit and enjoy some Jewish (kosher) comedy on a Thursday or Motzei Shabbos. Currently, no such place exists. How great would it be for people to hear some good, clean Jewish jokes and hey, if I discover the next big Jewish comedian even better!