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Fort Defiance

The beloved restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, has a bright future as a grocery and general store

What Investors Say

Invested $10,000 this round
I love great food, coffee, and cocktails. Fort Defiance has been a cornerstone business in its community since the day it opened. Service has always been warm and effective. Food is always familiar and challenging. It helps that I've known the owner, St. John Frizell for decades, and have seen his personal commitment to excellence firsthand. When he mentioned his ambitious plan to expand the loved business I was really excited. But there was one thing that gave me pause: the move to a new location. Sometimes it's the exact spot that makes a business. After a few moments of thought, I realized that the Fort's customers love it for what it provides, not where it currently resides. Pre-COVID it provided a cozy, bustling space with great food but sometimes frustratingly long lines. In this move to the new location, it will rekindle the dining capability that sustained it for so long, and extend the marketplace offerings it adopted in the face of lockdown from the pandemic. It seems like a perfect mix of adapting, overcoming, and retaining all the best of its pedigree: Defiance indeed!

In the News

My Bar Failed Because of Covid. Here’s Why I’m Happy About It
March 24, 2021
"Instead of hosting our neighbors’ nightly carousings, we’ll supply the parties they host at home, and that feels like true hospitality right now. Fort Defiance is not going to reopen as a restaurant; it’s going to grow as a general store."
Business Lessons From A Bar That Shut Down Because Of The Pandemic-Here's How It Bounced Back
March 24, 2021
Unfortunately, right now in America many small businesses are struggling, and some of them are failing, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It might sound strange to consider we can learn any business lessons from a business that failed, but sometimes the best way to learn and grow is through failure.
How NYC Bartenders Are Building Pandemic-Proof Businesses
February 16, 2021
The days of sidling up to a bar in New York may feel like distant memories. But bartenders and business owners are fighting to bring them back by building imaginative solutions for the beverages, and the hospitality, that have been in such deficit over the past 11 months.
The Grocery Gambit for New York Restaurants
December 17, 2020
Missy Robbins long dreamed of opening a pasta shop; COVID-19 sped things up. The side project that began as a snaking line out the front door of her Williamsburg restaurant Misi has grown over several months into a two-truck delivery operation serving the city and its ritzier suburbs, ferrying staples like Trapanese sea salt and Pantellerian capers, Vermont apples and Long Island bitter greens, plus mafaldini-and-pink-peppercorn pasta kits to self-isolating regulars in the throes of restaurant withdrawal.
Brooklyn Restaurants Turned Into General Stores To Stay Open, Some For Good - Bklyner
July 7, 2020
When restaurants were ordered to close in March, many had to find new and creative ways to stay afloat. Bars began bottling their signature cocktails, and many restaurants decided to start selling their extra stock.
Will Restaurants Ever Be The Same? A conversation w/ St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance ⋆ BYT // Brightest Young Things
June 29, 2020
Red Hook is a neighborhood that knows a thing or two about resilience, and in the face of the current pandemic, it's spots like Fort Defiance (365 Van Brunt St.) that drive this notion home; as social distancing restrictions have thrown many venues for a (potentially permanent) loop, owner St.
Coronavirus Pushes Restaurants Into the Grocery Business
April 15, 2020
Soon after St. John Frizell was forced to shut down Fort Defiance, his restaurant and bar in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, because of the pandemic, he struggled to figure out a way to bring in any revenue. A plan to offer takeout fizzled.
What People Say