Almost like Grandma’s: Michaels of Brooklyn

Shortly after my husband and I got engaged, my mother-in-law trusted me with a precious family possession: the Fanelli tomato sauce recipe. It is exceptional every time and it fills the house with a delicious smell that calls for toasted bread. But it does take hours to make, and we consume great quantities of tomato sauce in this household, so it’s hard to keep up. After trying nearly every tomato sauce in the market, our panel of experts fell in love with Michaels of Brooklyn and never looked back. We always have a jar handy, and it’s a close contender with Grandma Fanelli’s sauce.

Michaels of Brooklyn marinara sauce

Michaels of Brooklyn has been in our house for several years, but it’s been around for nearly half a century. That’s some credentials. Marinara, Tomato & Basil, Putanesca, Arrabiata and Fileto de Pomodoro: they are all amazing, and they are the creation of the restaurant of the same name near Sheepshead Bay.

I have a strange ability (if you could call it that) to remember dates, addresses and phone numbers, and for a while now I’ve had it stored in my brain that Michaels of Brooklyn is located at 2929 Avenue R. So the other day I happened to find myself driving up Ocean Parkway, and as I was coming up to Avenue R, I decided to do some investigative reporting for all of us.

Michaels of Brooklyn - the restaurant

The corner of Avenue R and Nostrand Avenue is Michaels’ HQ: one side of the street has the bakery, and the restaurant (with valet parking, fancy!) is across the street. Inside the restaurant, their slow-cooked sauces are for sale. They can be found all over the city as well: at Fairway markets, most Keyfood supermarkets, and many other stores.

Now it’s in my to-do’s to go back to the restaurant for dinner. With this windy weather bringing Fall in whether we like it or not, a lovely homemade Italian meal feels just right.