Recently Shuttered Champion Coffee will Reopen at Two New Locations

Image c/o Yelp

Champion Coffee may have recently shuttered at 1108 Manhattan Avenue (due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’), but caffeine addicts have no reason to be be sad. Two new Champions are soon to spring up elsewhere in Greenpoint to replace it.

First up will be a new cafe at 142 Nassau Avenue, on the site of Sweet Fox, which has now closed down. Champion’s Talitha Whidbee tells us that “Sweet Fox owner Jean Marc was ready to get back to his catering life and away from the constant demands of a cafe so we bought Sweet Fox from him which we will remodel over the next month and re-open as Champion Coffee.” This location will be almost exactly the same as the original Champion (with a slightly pared down food menu), and will be opening around September 22nd.

There is also a second, larger space in the pipeline, at 1107 Manhattan Avenue, directly across the road from the original. “Due to its size it will be a little longer in coming to fruition, but we are shooting for end of November”, Talitha tells us. This location will have the standard Champion food and drink menu, with the addition of kombucha on tap from Mombucha and a few other exclusive beverages.

In the meantime North Greenpointers craving a coffee fix could do worse than to try out the newly opened Sweetleaf Coffee (or Propeller, or Early, or Bakeri…).

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Sweetleaf Coffee: New Cafe and Roastery Opens in North Greenpoint

Owner Rich Nieto outside his newest cafe on Freeman Street

You know those times when you don’t set out to do something, but somehow it just happens anyway? Well, this is pretty much how Sweetleaf, Greenpoint’s newest coffee shop, came about.

“I wasn’t looking to set up another cafe”, says owner Rich Nieto, “I was just looking to find a space to roast.”

Rich established Sweetleaf Coffee with a friend in 2008, in a tiny shop just over the Pulaski bridge.  Seven years later and there is now an additional coffee shop in LIC, one in Williamsburg and, as of last week, a new one in Greenpoint. Rich bought out his partner about a year ago and now runs the entire operation.  He recently  started roasting his own beans out of a friend’s loft in Bushwick, but as he started to step up production it made sense to find a roasting space of his own.

“I was looking for a warehouse of around 1000 sq ft, but it was almost impossible to find something this small, everything is huge”, he tells us as we sit sipping coffee in the brand new Greenpoint outpost of Sweetleaf on Freeman Street. “I discovered this space because I used to drive past every day on my way between LIC and Williamsburg, and although it turned out to be the smallest warehouse space I could find, it was still way more space than I needed. The building is in a great location, just off  Manhattan Avenue, so we decided to use the extra space by creating a cafe at the front and having our roastery at the back.” Continue reading

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Greenpoint Food & Drink: Summer News Round-up

Brooklyn Barge Bar

There’s been a whole lot of comings and goings amongst Greenpoint’s bars and restaurants recently.  Here’s a round-up of a few changes that are on our radar…

Brooklyn Barge Bar  (3 Milton Street) – This novelty floating bar has been a long time in the making and it’s looking like they’ll miss the boat with the summer crowd if they don’t get things going soon. Time Out are throwing a ‘first look’ party  ($25 for unlimited beer and oysters) on the barge on August 26th, so it’s quite likely that this will be their opening night. Let’s hope they don’t have to cancel like they did with their 4th July celebrations. But, if they do, at least it means that Transmitter Park will stay a haven of tranquillity for a little longer.

Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin Street) – A sign in the window of this popular brunch spot says ‘closed for renovation’, along with a request to renew their sidewalk liquor license. However, it’s just been confirmed by the owners that the business is actually being sold and will be re-opening as something different in due course.  Continue reading

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Rise and Shine with “Early”, Greenpoint’s Newest Coffee Shop

Image courtesy of @reidschlegel

There’s no shortage of top-notch coffee in Greenpoint, but it’s always fun to have options and, as of last week, we just got one more, courtesy of a new cafe with the suitably caffeine-related name of ‘Early’.

Early Coffee & Sandwich Shop (967 Manhattan Avenue), held its official grand opening on Saturday, where the neighborhood was warmly welcomed in from the cold with free-flowing coffee and canapé-sized tasters of their yummy sandwich menu. Owner Radek Kucharski was cheerily doing the rounds with prosecco and hot cider, whilst cafe manager Peter Chrostowski was doling out espressos, mimosas, and sweet treats by Vegan Divas. Radek told us he’s always dreamed of opening a cafe in the area and, now that the stars have finally aligned in his favor, he’s super excited about the new venture. Continue reading

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Five Leaves to Expand into Former Sharkey’s Driving School Space

Familiar crowds outside Five Leaves wait in line for a perfect flat white.

As I strolled past Sharkey’s Driving School at the top of Bedford Avenue on Sunday evening, I noticed it was NO LONGER a driving school but instead some kind of pop-up gallery/shop. The guy inside told me that the space is about to be taken over by Five Leaves with view to an expansion and we can now confirm that this news is indeed absolutely true!

Five Leaves co-owner Kathy Mecham tell us “We are upgrading the entire restaurant: bigger kitchen, bigger room, bigger bar.  This also means we will also be able to up our catering so it’s really exciting!” Continue reading

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Say Bonjour to Delicious French Pastries at Sweet Fox Café

Sweet_Fox_Cafe_Greenpoint_Rosie_de_BelgeonneOoh la la! There’s a new cafe in the neighborhood and oui, vraiment, c’est Français! Recently opened on Nassau Ave, Sweet Fox Café is run by French chef Jean-Marc Hardy, and is a great spot to pick up a morning coffee and croissant, a fresh-baked baguette for lunch, or a fancy pastry for afternoon tea. Sweet treats include alluringly colored macaroons, delicate fruit tartlets, and the classic praline cream-filled Paris Brest (an item which, at the age of nine, I rated as most the sophisticated of all racy foodstuffs.) Continue reading

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From Bean to Brew: Inside the Café Grumpy Roastery

Cafe_Grumpy_Sack_Rosie_de_belgeonneGrumpy by name, awesome by nature, Café Grumpy has been one of Greenpoint’s most beloved coffee shops for almost a decade and now, with the addition of a new roastery, there’s even more to love.

Founded on the corner of Meserole Avenue and Diamond Street in 2005, Grumpy has since spread to five other locations including their most recent opening at Grand Central Station, where they triumphantly replaced a Starbucks. The cafe also brushed with fame during its starring role in HBO’s Girls.

In 2009 Grumpy started roasting their own beans in the back room of the Greenpoint cafe, but this year’s increased production demands led them to seek out a larger roasting space. Fortunately an ex-floristry warehouse just a few buildings down became available and their coffee-roasting palace was born. I met up with head bean buyer and ‘coffee educator’ Cheryl Kingan who gave me a grand tour of the roastery and the low down on the entire process of bean to brew. Continue reading

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Slick Willie: ‘Authentic New American’ Restaurant Inspired by Greenpoint’s Most Infamous Criminal

interior_slick_willie_cherie_YIt all started with an idea, and a few years later, new restaurant Slick Willie (179 Meserole Avenue) is a dream come true for three friends, Jeremy, Josh, and Benjamin. It took quite a while to construct and design the space, as they signed the lease on the property just before Sandy hit New York, and then everything was delayed as construction priorities changed post-storm. However, the restaurant finally opened a few weeks ago and the trio are now ready for business!

While some might think Slick Willie was named after Bill Clinton, it’s actually named after one of Greenpoint’s famous residents, Willie Sutton. He was a legendary bank robber, a “gentleman bank robber,” so called because he never killed anyone. He robbed banks because “that’s where the money is,” and the FBI gave him the name “Slick Willie” in reference to how many times he’d eluded them Continue reading

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French Pastries Get Fancy at Charlotte Patisserie

Charlotte Patisserie's splendid pastry selection

Charlotte Patisserie  (596 Manhattan Avenue)  is like a little piece of France in Greenpoint. Although it’s been open since 2011, recent renovations and the addition of a dining room have given new life to the pastry shop, which also boasts a wonderful back yard surrounded by ivy- covered brick walls.

They have also expanded their menu to offer brunch and a casual but elegant dinner. Menu options include French classics like a croque monsieur, ratatouille, omelette, crepes, Niçoise salad and croquettes.
Continue reading

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Caricature Artist Dan Springer Colors in Funny at Tar Pit Cafe

Philip Seymour Hoffman ©Dan Springer

When he drew his first caricature of his grade school teacher as a young kid, he thought was doing something new. While he soon learned otherwise, Dan Springer has created a career out of exaggerating the characters of people – the famous, the everyday and canines, too. Continue reading

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