Norman (29 Norman Ave) is now officially open as an all-day café, restaurant, and bar serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though there were a few months of delay, it seems that spring is the perfect time to welcome this sustainable restaurant to the neighborhood. Norman shares a beautiful sun-drenched location with creative space A/D/O, and the cuisine benefits from the bounty of the season. This large and airy cafe is a great casual dining destination in this warehouse sprawled area of Greenpoint.
Chefs Fredrik Berselius and Claus Meyer have partnered on this work/dining space. Meyer has found much recent success in New York City with Michelin-starred Agern, Bageri, and The Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal. Berselius runs the Michelin two-starred Nordic tasting menu Aska, in Williamsburg. Chef Andrew Whitcomb leads the kitchen with Meyer’s New Nordic cooking principals in the forefront always considering local sourcing and sustainability.
Chef Andrew may not have a background in Nordic cooking, but he has shared in the same philosophy throughout his career. “I grew up in a farming community in Maine, my grandparents had a farm, I was surrounded by farms and for me, it’s second nature. Sustainability to me is not necessarily buying organic vegetables, there [are] a million and one ways that go beyond that. I think it’s more about building a community and building a restaurant, a store, a bar, shop that can self-sustain,” says Whitcomb.
Norman will collaborate and create along with the designers, producers and creative minds of A/D/O and host a quarterly dinner based on their seasonal themes. “It is nice to be in a space where you are connected to other people that are constantly thinking of new ideas or creating something or problem solving because that is something we do in the restaurant. It’s always about learning, it’s always about growing, about educating yourself and being inspired by people around you,” says Berselius.
“I always think of this place as an incubator as a whole. We are creating food to help the creative minds create a new piece of artwork or a new project or new business. We get feedback back and forth. We are partnering with Upcycle and Farmshelf. Pretty soon we’ll have a bookshelf type unit that will grow herbs and vegetables pretty quickly,” adds Whitcomb.
Breakfast starts early at Norman (7 a.m.) and a standout dish is the Ancient Grain Porridge. “All grains that are grown in between crop rotations of potatoes in Maine. We use 4-5 different varieties of grain and we are able to use that to help the farmer,” says Whitcomb. The grains are mixed with a green garlic puree, topped with an 1841 Havarti Cheese from Calkin’s Creamery in Pennsylvania, smoked white fish cooked until it reaches a flossy consistency and puffed rice to add some lightness and texture. The vegetable-forward daily lunch special is $14 and served Monday-Friday. It’s nutritious, but light and meant to fuel a productive afternoon. Pair it with the Kombucha on tap. A late night dinner menu will soon roll out from 11 pm to 2 am with a full bar featuring beers from Evil Twin Brewing, local gin by Greenhook Ginsmiths and rosé on tap.
“The food is very very simple but very refined. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not complex. New Nordic cooking is all about clean, simple, fresh with respect to the product and technique and the system. It’s very difficult. You have nothing to hide behind. It’s either good or it’s not. It makes you focus a lot more,” says Chef Andrew.
Norman is located at 29 Norman Avenue, inside A/D/O. The current opening hours are Monday to Friday, 7 am – 11 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9 am – 11 pm. Soon, it will be open until 2 am, Thursday to Saturday, and close on Sundays at 9 pm.