Whenever we dine at Brucie, two things always stand out: the freshness of the ingredients and the feeling that the servers are having more fun than any other waiters in town. “Music is a major reason for why our staff is so tight,” says chef-owner Zahra Tangorra. “I’ve compiled a playlist of songs that are particularly special to us in the kitchen — our anthems, our dance-party starters, and the songs that make us laugh, cry and make tagliatelle at the speed of light! Our entire staff regularly ends up in the kitchen for dancing and singing.” The party atmosphere enlivens their Italian dishes and rubs off on us whenever we stop by.
You can listen to the playlist on Spotify if you’re a member, or just check out the tracks, along with Ms. Tangorra’s comments, below.
1. Atmosphere – “Guns and Cigarettes”
Classic party starter. Not necessarily a song that everyone knows, but it’s super fun and easy to get into. Brings me back to being 17!
2. The Black Keys – “Everlasting Light”
One of those songs that instantly puts everyone in a good mood. It’s fun and romantic and sweet, and has a simple hook which makes sing-alongs easy. My sous-chef, Frank, who is amazing, is the funniest singer of all time. Consistently off-key and always singing a line or two ahead. So, as soon as this comes on, Frank just starts shouting “Everlasting Light” at random times!
3. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – “Johnny Appleseed”
I love this whole record. Crazy uplifting, no? How can you hear this and not instantly get into a great mood? Plus, there is a hook with a lot of joyful shouting, perfect for us!
4. Japanther- “Fuk tha Prince a Pull Iz Dum”
Not only is this song (and whole record) amazing and super-fun, but it has a special place in my heart because one half of Japanther is from my hometown. What up, Northport! They played for my friend’s 30th bday at our fave local homoetown dive bar, Gunthers, and it was probably the greatest show I have ever seen. In the kitchen, when we are starting to get slammed, this is the perfect tune for cranking out tagliatelles by the thousands.
5. Drake feat. Lil Wayne “The Motto”
“Eryday, eryday, we don’t really play.”
6. Ma$e – “Feel so Good”
What happened to Ma$e? Harlem World was so great! Then he drops some garbage follow-up and then, bam, he is called by God to spread the gospel? What gives? Well, this song is a gem. You will never be able to take it from us, God!
7. Miike Snow- “Animal”
So, Frank works the sauté station most nights, which is extremely challenging, and at some point in our night, he’ll be working, like, 20 pastas, 5 orders of scallops, frying duck eggs, etc. But as soon as this song comes on he always manages to break free from the pasta. He always says the same thing… “Oh yeahhhhhh, turn this up!” and then proceeds to shout “nothing nothing, something something…….. I’m still an animmmmmmal!!!!!” It’s the greatest thing ever!
8. Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
Perhaps the greatest song ever. Being from Long Island, I am genetically predisposed to loving Billy Joel. When this comes on we obviously all sing along in the kitchen, and we usually get a few servers to come join in for singing the hook. Sometimes our singing gets pretty loud, and one night Jon, one of my general managers, comes in to the kitchen and is like, “Guys, you guys are singing really loud, but in the dining room we can only hear you shouting fire and people are getting really nervous.”
9. Outkast -“Hey Ya”
I think the true key to making a knock-out playlist is putting on crowd-pleasing songs. Even if they are perhaps slightly dated, or over-played, there are some songs that everyone just loves. I’m fairly sure that “Hey Ya” is the most crowd-pleasing, feel-good song of all time. Plus, one of my cooks, George, is a dead ringer for Andree 3000. Grab your wooden spoon microphones, everyone!
10. Jay-Z feat Swiss Beatz – “On the the Next One”
Whenever this song comes on, we stop what we are doing and start dancing. This song will always remind me of one of my cooks and best friends, George. He is like the greatest dancer, and we have rocked out to this so many times that we pretty much have it down to a science. We might try and start a 2-man flash mob or open a Vegas act with it one day. Now double your $$ and make it stack!!!!
11. The Proclaimers- “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
This is absolutely our kitchen anthem. Unlike most of the other stuff we play in the kitchen, none of the other employees can really get into this one. But Frank, George, Amelia and I are all about it. It’s really unifying at the end of a long night, when we just may have said some things to each other that we regret while we were in the weeds. Pop open a couple of beers and have a couple of cheers and yarg about walking 500 miles, which is pretty effing far, no?
12. Jay-Z and Kanye West “Why I Love You”
Watch the Throne was for sure the best album of 2011. When it came out, we listened to it non-stop for like 3 months straight. The hook is amazing, and when it comes on it unifies the front and back of house in a super loud “ooooooooo, I love you you so, and why I love you, I never know.” This is usually followed by our end-of-a-friday-night shots of Jameson for all!
13. Insane Clown Posse – “Miracles”
After a long, hard night of work, its good to have a belly laugh. This is the most absurd piece of music ever assembled and is sure to bring us all back to our happy places. “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” The world may never know! Be sure to peep the video if you want to pee in your pants!
14. The Mountian Goats – “This Year”
We made it through another night, and apparently we will make it through this year, if it kills us, which is really reassuring!