Hot sauce tasting room, with sommelier, opening in Greenpoint

heatonist

With all of these choices, you’re gonna need a guide. via Facebook

Hot sauce is perhaps nature’s greatest condiment, able to provide kick and excitement to the blandest meals and make even crappy things like vegetables taste good. People love it to the point where there’s a whole hot sauce trade show in Greenpoint. So it makes sense then, that this year is also seeing the opening of a whole store in Greenpoint devoted to nothing but hot sauce, complete with a hot sauce tasting room and sommelier who’ll pick out the perfect flavor blast for you. Hey, why not, we’ve already got a mayonnaise store.

Heatonist, Greenpoint’s only all-hot sauce store, is the dream of Noah Chaimberg, who talked with Greenpointers about his plans for the brick-and-mortar salute to the spicier side of life. Heatonist already exists as a curated, mail order hot sauce service with a mission to bring people the best hot sauce they can find, but Chaimberg told Greenpointers that he’d always dreamed of having a physical location for his hot sauce empire. To that end, he found a space at the end of 2014 and launched a Kickstarter to make it happen. At this point, the Kickstarter is beyond fully funded, so the doors to the store will open on April 18.

While wandering the hot, spicy shelves at Heatonist, Chaimberg says that you’ll be able to find 75 different varieties of hot sauce, and eventually 150 if he makes his heat-filled dreams come true. About that tasting room and sommelier though. Chaimberg said he’s looking to get away from the “macho packaging and competitive boasts of outrageous heat levels” that are part of hot sauce culture and move more towards appreciating the flavors. So to that end, the front half of Heatonist will be a tasting room, with sommelier’s to help guide customers on their hot sauce journey of discovery and find the spice that’s right for them. No word yet on whether Heatonist will be doing some outside hiring, but just in case, practice saying things like “Well yes, if you want a more pepper-based kick, I’d recommend going with the ’78 Tabasco, it’s divine,” in as snooty an accent as you can muster.

One Comment

  • Having opened a high-end hot sauce, herb, & spice store in the early 2000s (Heather’s Heat and Flavor), this idea is actually on point! Everyone has different tastes, and we would work hard to identify what might be the right sauce for a particular customer, just as we would work to find the right herb & spice combination for a dish they wanted to make. When you have more than 450 to choose from, it’s important to have tasted them all and be able to offer up advice for people who look at the wall in confusion — much like people feel when walking into a wine store with so many varietals & regions. An expert opinion can make all the difference between enjoying your meal as a fabulous adventure & memory, or just “meh”, or even worse.