Editors’ Note: This is our second post in a series about solo dining. Here’s our first post.
Perhaps the most obvious spot that comes to mind when one thinks of restaurants most suitable to the individual is a cafe. Dotted with open chairs opposite a single patron hunched in front of a laptop or over a book, the scene of predominantly lopsided tables is a familiar one in North Brooklyn any day of the week. Here’s my guide for where to go to get your work done by day, and in some cases even linger into the night.
For the same reasons I think a seat at the bar is the best seat in the house, I frequently find myself at the counter of Eagle Trading Company (258 Franklin Street) where the sweet server knows I’ll be having the Coronation Chicken (mango chutney, raita, arugula $7 as sandwich; or as salad over spinach and arugula $8) as I get work or “life admin” done while enjoying refills of iced green tea and a breeze from the Franklin Street-facing windows. If I’m there for breakfast (served until 4pm daily), it’s the B11 breakfast sandwich (eggs, jack cheese, avocado, jalapeños, tomato, onion, cilantro $7) with lots of hot sauce as I launch into productivity.
New kid on the block Maman (80 Kent Street) joins the ranks of neighborhood spots to do work, read or sip a latte in solitude. I’m writing this post from one of their rustic swing-inspired tables now, having savored the quiche “Elisa”—undoubtedly named for Maman baker, event planner and designer Elisa Marshall—(roasted zucchini, ricotta and kale $6) and an almond milk cortado (coffee by Brooklyn’s Toby’s Estate), inevitably eyeing their renowned chocolate chip cookies. The space couldn’t be more pleasant. In keeping with Maman’s meticulous approach to atmosphere, the Greenpoint cafe’s design and decor were carefully curated for this location.
Down Franklin Street a few blocks, the window seat at nautical Littleneck Outpost (128 Franklin Street) is my go-to following weekend yoga. It’s where I replenish with the avocado toast (with fire roasted tomatoes $8, add egg +$1.50—it’s the best in the neighborhood, IMHO), or if I’m in the mood to change it up, the Green Goddess (fried egg, market greens $7—regular’s tip: sub the amazing rye bread they use for the avocado toast).
Milk and Roses (1110 Manhattan Avenue) straddles both the cafe and bar scene vibes that are conducive to an unaccompanied visit. It’s a great spot to get work done or spend an afternoon reading. With its cozy, bookshelf-lined interior that leads out to a rustic sun room and garden space, Milk and Roses offers settings suitable for any weather.
Then, reward yourself for checking off your to-do list or extend your day of relaxation into a convivial night with dinner at the bar (the Southern Italian influenced fine American cuisine includes gems like fettuccine with fava bean, braised chicory and whipped pecorino for $17), and you’ll also likely be treated to live music.
Likewise, a sun-soaked, wood burning fire-scented afternoon working or reading at Achilles Heel (180 West Street) easily transitions into a happy hour drink and bite before friends arrive. It’s an ever-changing menu, but there always seems to be something on the inventive list that catches my eye and intrigues my taste buds. (My last visit had me enjoying my first-ever taste of nettle!) Close the computer by 5pm on weekdays because happy hour starts (5-7pm, features $2 oysters). If it’s a cocktail you’re hankering for, look no further than the Bone Diamond (mezcal, gin, aperol and orange $12).
So make your work a little less painful with a beautiful and welcoming environment in which to get it done, look up from your computer screen and recharge with a sweet treat, take a breath post-workout before heading into the rest of your day with a healthful and flavorful dish, sneak in a chapter of the page-turner you’re reading before raising a glass and catching up with friends in that same cozy spot. Greenpoint is host to many great places where you can do it all. Solo.