ask a waiter

Bryan Coomansingh of Jive Turkey Is Part Cashier, Part Doorman

"Our goal is to fry 350 turkeys each day."Photo: Melissa Hom

Bryan Coomansingh was working at Atomic Wings when he got the opportunity to graduate from chicken to a much more hallowed bird. He took a job as a cashier at Jive Turkey, the Clinton Hill institution where soul-food lovers who’d rather not set their apartments on fire can buy entire fried turkeys in flavors ranging from Peking to Zinfandel. At this point it’s too late to have one shipped for your Thanksgiving dinner— if you’re still bent on picking one up and plan to brave the line at the tiny store (where Bryan also acts as doorman), you may want to read this.

How do you deep-fry your turkeys? Is it dangerous?
It’s pretty safe. We fry them in 100 percent peanut oil in pressurized deep fryers, two turkeys at a time. It takes 18 to 24 minutes for each turkey.

Which one takes the most prep?
The Mexican mole turkey — you have to deep fry the turkey and mold it with chocolate and stuff it with chocolate as well.

What’s the best-seller?
The peach-bourbon turkey. It’s glazed with peach and bourbon with chunks of peach.

Do you do stuffing?
We do a cornbread dressing. For some reason you cannot stuff a fried turkey, so we sell that on the side.

Where do you get the turkeys, and how many of them do you go through?
We get them from upstate New York. Our goal is to fry 350 turkeys each day.

When’s the best time to avoid the line?
People start lining up at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sometimes when I get there at 10 a.m., there are easily 100 people standing in line already, and we haven’t even opened. There are some times at night when you can just walk in — at 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

What percentage of your business is done during the holidays?
We probably make at least $115,000 to $125,000 in four days.

You have six seats in the restaurant — do people actually come and sit on Thanksgiving day?
During Thanksgiving the store is really small, and our shipping boxes are where the chairs were so there’s no sitting down. We don’t really make anything on our regular daily menu for that week.

Related: Thanksgiving Planner [NYM]

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