Williamsburg mainstay eateries are getting creative with how to accomodate guests outside this summer, and a new outdoor-only restaurant has found its solution: Garden dining. Strangeways (302 Metropolitan Ave.) will open on Friday, August 7th. The 90-seat restaurant is run by chef Ken Addington (formerly of Five Leaves, Picholine, Town, Eight Mile Creek) and Australian restaurateur Jamie Web.

Burgers and beer in Strangeways’ garden (Photo courtesy of Ghazalle Badiozamani)

Like many small businesses open amidst the pandemic, Strangeways’ original concept shifted once the owners postponed their original opening plans in March. “We consider ourselves fortunate to have not opened, as closing the restaurant would have proven to be an even greater challenge,” Addingston says. “I know how hard it was for restaurant owners that care about their staff to not be able to support them through this difficult time. To assemble a great crew, as we’ve done now, and not be able to follow through on commitments made would have been heartbreaking.”

Instead of moving forward as planned, Addington and Webb used this spring to focus on creating a safe and welcoming outdoor-only restaurant for the city. They partnered with Manscapers, the outdoor design stars of the Bravo show Backyard Envy, to create a verdant outdoor space that will utilize greenery to help separate diners.

Strangeways will open a garden restaurant on August 7 (Photo courtesy of Ghazalle Badiozamani)

“We are very fortunate to have a restaurant with 1500 square-foot outdoor space,” Addington says. “We worked with a landscaping company to install lush plants and flowering trees that act as natural partitions between dining tables and service areas. Plus, our garden features fans throughout that continuously cool and ventilate the space. This not only helps us separate the tables to create intimate spaces to be with friends and family but, we hope will act as a welcoming oasis to help bring the community together in a safe and comfortable manner.”

The menu at Strangeways will be eclectic, with dishes inspired by Native New Yorker Addington’s travels abroad, and dining his way through multiple cuisines in New York City. Dishes include crispy rock shrimp with pickled serranos, green onions and vadouvan dressing; East Coast oysters with a tellicherry pepper-white balsamic mignonette; chopped kale salad with tahini-seaweed caesar, black sesame, and toasted nori; monkfish katsu with curried iceberg slaw and shallot chutney; and mushroom-buckwheat pie green chickpeas and yellow beet harissa.

Cocktails in Strangeways’ backyard (Photo courtesy of Ghazalle Badiozamani)

Weekend brunch will feature specials like sourdough cinnamon toast with brown butter crumble; semolina pancakes with sundried strawberry butter, pistachio, raw honey; soft scrambled egg sandwich kewpie mayo, taleggio and tomato chutney; hot smoked salmon kedgeree with soft pickled egg, coriander chutney, and dulse.

For cocktails, Addington and Webb teamed up with Shannon Tebay (Death & Co, Pouring Ribbons and The Happiest Hour) to create menu of frozen drinks, draft and mixed cocktails, which will be available in large format and to-go options. Sommelier Nate Lithgow (Holy Ground and Cafe Altro Paradiso) is overseeing the opening wine list, which focuses on Mediterranean and coastal wines.

Strangeways will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3pm to 11pm, Saturdays from 10am to 12am and Sundays from 10am to 11pm.

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  1. …..sourdough cinnamon toast with brown butter crumble; semolina pancakes with sundried strawberry butter, pistachio, raw honey; soft scrambled egg sandwich kewpie mayo, taleggio and tomato chutney; hot smoked salmon kedgeree with soft pickled egg, coriander chutney, and dulse….
    Rather than being something to cheer about, reading this article’s descriptions of culinary delights made me sick to my stomach, when I think of the millions of New Yorkers who are unemployed, on the verge of eviction, with hungry children at the table, as adults wonder where their next meal will come from amid stacks of unpaid & unpayable bills. In the midst of so much pain, so much suffering, seeing these let-them-eat-cake yuppie celebrants in the midst of a cruel pandemic tells us much about the shameful path of callous inequality & brutal indifference that both our city and our country have taken, a path strewn with discarded & disposable bodies of workers, in the richest country in the world. What has become of us?
    It’s a path that is ultimately unsustainable. We need to change our ways, change our priorities and change our values – before it’s too late for all of us. A true & genuine community’s vision would embrace the timeless wisdom that tells us “whatsoever you do to the least of these you do to Me”. In a very real earthly sense the “Me” is of course all of us, the whole, the community. For if you do not love your community and neighbor in both thought & deed you will die alongside him ir her in his suffering and neglect; It will be initially a death of one’s spirit, of one’s humanity, of one’s empathy and eventually a death of the inhumane community itself, the community that allowed and fostered such obscene inequality & injustice. The center cannot hold, the community cannot hold together, when the center is rotten.
    It’ s not “just the way things are” or set in stone. It’s a manmade system of rewards, punishments, inclusions and exclusions— and therefore it can be altered and make better by man, for all men, and women. But no, we have no time for that. Perish the thought. It’s time for an indulgent pandemic brunch at our favorite outdoor restaurant. Perhaps you’ll throw a few scraps? Or would that be a disincentive to those undeserving underlings from finding work in a shattered economy? …an economy shattered both physically and morally. Are there no prisons! Are there no homeless shelters! What are humanity’s misfortunes to do with me? I am an island!
    Not to worry, you’ll find an excuse to assuage any pangs of doubt or guilt or remorse that may somehow creep past your well-hewn defenses. Cheers. And please pass the sourdough cinnamon toast with brown butter crumble. So good, so good. And who is more deserving than me! Oink, Oink.

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