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Meet the Jerks: Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

February 1, 2013

Gia (the owner) and Bly, one of the waitresses.

***Note: this post was submitted by Isabelle in late summer and was unfortunately forgotten. So, please forgive the shorts and tees in the pics (especially if it makes you jealous), just think of it as a preview of your upcoming spring and summer!

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

A while ago, I was walking in Carroll Gardens on Henry Street and was intrigued by a quaint facade that subtly announced its name as the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain. I took a quick peek inside wondering if it was a “real” old Brooklyn or a “new” old Brooklyn type of place. The clean typeface, the milky green paint color and the vintage packaging intrigued me, but I was in a hurry, so I promised myself I’d come back and investigate fully.

Tate, Lucas and Julian outside. "The atmosphere here is old. I like that it's nice and old, even though I'm only 10 years old. And the food is great, too." Tate reflects.

Coincidentally, thereafter, two of my Bay Area creative friends inquired if I knew a Gia Giasullo; a graphic designer from San Francisco who had recently moved to Brooklyn and become a restaurant owner. They mentioned that she had opened a place called The Farmacy. That’s when I knew The Farmacy was worth a return journey with my camera and journal.

Isaiah and Mateo enjoying the ride on the new wooden horse outside on Sackett St.

I wanted to meet Gia, so I spent a Saturday morning waiting and absorbing the bustling atmosphere. Parents brunched and bonded with their kids over board games, women caught up with one another, and waitresses served redesigned American classics.

Ginger attacking her serving of breakfast Brooklyn-cured sausages and grilled cheese.

Older kids can use the room in the back filled with books and board games so parents can finish their meal in peace.

Having been raised in France, I have never tasted an egg cream or a float, but I know these American desserts are prized. These Brooklyn drinks of the 1940s are best sellers on The Farmacy’s menu. Another favorite is wistfully named, “The Sundae of Broken Dreams”, which consists of bits of crushed pretzels with ice cream.

Black & Blue Blueberry soda float $6.50

The yummy brunch menu

Soda syrup for sale

You can buy your all natural soda syrup from P & H Soda Co.

Brooklyn Hard Candy

Find wonderful artisanal items for sale, like these decadent hard candies bottled in a jar, by Brooklyn Hard Candy.

Gia and I discussed why she left her graphic design career to open a restaurant. It began with a desire to escape her cubicle and computer screen in order to connect with “real life.”  She is now creatively fulfilled playing around with designing the menus, creating 3-D window installations, managing social media and, of course, directly interacting with the customers.

House-baked muffins, scones, brownies, pecan pie bars and Trois Pommes Bakery red velvet twinkes fill up the counter.

Later,  I met Gia’s brother, Peter Freeman, the “head-jerk”,  who is her partner in the Farmacy. Being French and still discovering the finer points of American culture, I learned that “jerk” was the correct term to describe the person operating the soda fountain. Of course, it’s a perfect term to create all sorts of hilarious references and The Farmacy not only knows good design, it also has a healthy dose of humor. They sell black T-shirts with the word “Jerk” emblazoned on the front. You can purchase one for your special “Jerk”!

Pete was the one who discovered the Carroll Gardens location that had been empty for 12 years. With the thoughtful redesign, The Farmacy feels like a place that has been in Brooklyn for a long time. It’s not only a neighborhood staple, but highly sought after by photographers and film crews because of its sweet and welcoming look.

Have you been already? If not, I definitely recommend a visit!

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
513 Henry St. (corner of Sackett St.)
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 522-6260

A native of Valenciennes, France, Isabelle Dervaux has twenty-five years experience as an artist and illustrator in the magazine publishing and advertising world. She’s worked for Vogue, The New Yorker, Barneys, and for top clients around the world. She has had shows of her work in Paris, New York and Tokyo and has also taught Illustration and visual storytelling at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Parsons The New School for Design in New York.  Isabelle started creating “visual biographies” —still image sequences that tell stories of people and families, when she took on the task of sorting out 30 years of her own family photos. Visual biographies contain collages, illustrations and ephemera that complement the stories the photos tell.  Isabelle now teaches the skills and techniques she has discovered to help busy families enjoy their photos and videos instead of storing them in a box or a hard drive to be forgotten. Her Photo Organization Portfolio is here and her Illustration Portfolio is here.