Coming home late at night from the city that never sleeps is never easy. But now, Williamsburg residents can enjoy a juicy eight ounce burger with thinly sliced potato fries seasoned with Cajun spices day or night, thanks to neighborhood native Joel Mejia.
Mejia, the new chef at B.A.D. Burger (Breakfast All Day), is excited to cook for the neighborhood that raised him. “It feels great to be back home,” said Mejia. His love of cooking came from his mother, who prepared meals for the congregation on Sundays at the Church of God of Prophecy on Hooper and South First. Mejia’s training has come from the nation’s top chefs. “I’ve studied under two-time Chopped Chef Champion Mark Anthony Bynum and also Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. But nothing is like my mom’s cooking,” said Mejia, smiling.
Local cuisine wasn’t Mejia’s first career choice. After suffering a serious injury during a minor league game in the Dominican Republic, the former Texas Rangers hopeful was diagnosed with severe tendonitis in his elbow. Fortunately, Mejia’s curve balls and splitters were not his only specialties, and his passion for combining the right ingredients to please taste buds has brought him back to Brooklyn. “I’m glad we have somebody who knows the people, the neighborhood and loves cooking, as part of our team,” said B.A.D. Burger restaurant manager Arcenio Ramos.
For almost two years B.A.D. Burger has been known as one of the few 24/7 go to places for both vegans and carnivores in Williamsburg. The diner-styled restaurant, where the walls are decorated with posters of movie villains, has always taken pride in its burgers. (Patrons can also look forward to complementing their meals with upcoming wine and bear selections.) “Our beef patties are our trade mark and the best you’ll ever taste,” boasted B.A.D. Burgers co-owner Keith Mosco. “It’s Peter Lugers steak on a bun.” When Masco hired Mejia he did not know that the John Eriksson Junior High School 126 graduate was from the neighborhood. “I just found out a week ago,” admitted Mosco. “All I knew was that he had a passion for food and that you can taste it.”
131 Grand Street