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.
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.
“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.
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.