Brooks Reitz | March 25, 2024

The Monday Media Diet with Brooks Reitz

On Feed Me, Crossing to Safety, and Peter Heller

Recommended Products

High Tech Indus Style & Source
High Tech Indus Style & Source

A source book for Industrial style published in the late 70's. It explores the use of readymade, industrial materials in a residential setting. Topics include sail shades, rubber mat flooring, aluminum blinds, Speed-Rail, and other hallmarks of the Industrial aesthetic.

Brooks Reitz (BR) is a entrepreneur based in Charleston. I’m constantly impressed with his taste. His A Small and Simple Thing is a must-read Substack. Have a read. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a father, son and husband, and a restless entrepreneur with too many projects on the board. Primarily I’m a restaurateur with three properties - Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, Little Jack’s Tavern, and Melfi’s – all in Charleston, SC; I’ve a fourth on the way in New Orleans. I’m the founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. We manufacture and distribute cocktail mixers, bar tools and accessories across the USA and in England. I’m a Co-Founder, along with my wife, of E.M. Reitz, a high-end women’s shirting line manufactured in the Garment District from Italian and Japanese fabrics. And I publish my own weekly newsletter, A Small and Simple Thing, which turns a discerning eye toward food, travel, style, and life. There are a few other things, but really it all starts to sound a bit ridiculous at that point.

Describe your media diet. 

I’m a voracious consumer of online content. I start the day with the NYTimes online, mostly for cultural and lifestyle news. I’m also checking New York Mag and Wall Street Journal daily. Every weekend I’m reading the Sunday Edition of the Times, Airmail and FT’s ‘How to Spend It,’ which has been hilariously rebranded to…HTSI. 

For newsletters I’m reading Emily Sundberg’s Feed Me every morning, as well as, you guessed it: Why Is This Interesting? I love Michael Williams’ POV and wish he published more often. And while I don’t immediately read every edition of YOLO, I ALWAYS file it away for reference when I’m visiting a place they feature. I’m a proud contributor and I think Yolanda is a trusted voice of discernment in the travel industry.

I subscribe to physical copies of the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Monocle, and Runner’s World, a gift from my mother-in-law.

And to fill in any gaps I’ve missed, I always look for hot takes from one person on X: Chris Black.

What’s the last great book you read?

Last year I read Stegner’s ‘Crossing to Safety’ which absolutely bowled me over, and I’ve been hounding my wife to read it ever since. I’ve had ‘Angle of Repose’ on my bedside table since, but have yet to crack it open.

What are you reading now?

‘The Dog Stars’ by Peter Heller, a post-apocalyptic novel. My neighbor gave it to me and I was looking for a quick and easy read that didn’t ask too terribly much of me. I’m about 50 pages out from the end.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I do a quick flip through and see if anything grabs me - and I’ll read that first. Then I always go back to the beginning and patiently make my way through. I’m often sidetracked by something I want to learn more about. I’ll pick up the computer, do some more research, and head into the abyss. I’ll keep the magazine around until I feel like I’ve fully exhausted it. This is happening on Sunday afternoons, and many evenings in bed before I turn off the bedside light. Every couple months we’ll do a massive magazine clear out, once our house starts to look like Paul Smith’s office.

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

He’s certainly not an overlooked writer, but whenever I need a reminder of the power of simple, clear prose, I return to Raymond Carver. He wrote with such confidence, and had an ability to explore and unpack man’s great heartaches, struggles, victories and defeats. He understood it was the quiet moments that had the most power. He’s my favorite.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

The app for my gym, Ethos Athletic Club. I use it to sign up for weekly yoga classes, sauna sessions, and the occasional cold plunge. I love Ethos and start every day there.

Plane or train?

I’ve had a lot of experience with both, but I think I surprise even myself when I say TRAIN. 

When my son was 7 I took him on a cross-country Amtrak from Chicago to San Francisco. We spent three nights together between our little cabin, the dining car, and the viewing car. It was an incredible experience of uninterrupted father/son time. And I once spent a summer post high school with an unlimited Eurail pass and no responsibilities. Trains offer a moment to ponder, to daydream, to scheme, and to appreciate the changing landscape just beyond the windows.

What is one place everyone should visit? 

Inverness, north of San Francisco in Marin County is a place dear to me. I spent a week there last year with my family in a brilliant rental perched above Tomales Bay. We spent the days hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore, swimming in Tomales Bay, and convening with the beautiful, untouched nature that surrounds the area. Add to that the pristine California produce which made for nourishing meals at home and we had a week of real rest and relaxation, free from commerce and the incessant hum of city life.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.

I live in a rabbit hole. Early this year I bought High-Tech - a source book for Industrial style published in the late 70’s. It launched me into a deep dive on readymade, industrial materials that could be used in a residential setting. I went deep on sail shades, rubber mat flooring, aluminum blinds, Speed-Rail, and other hallmarks of the Industrial aesthetic. The style was employed beautifully by the late Richard Rogers; it’s a style I admire for its durability and utility, and I’ve got a dream of developing a series of cabins in the woods in this vernacular. (BR)

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Brooks (BR)

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