As the weather continues to warm up, North Brooklyn is heading outside. Last summer, New York State on PAUSE saw the rise of pedestrian-only streets, to-go cocktails, and the increased popularity of picnics for safer socializing.
Now, even as restaurants begin to reopen at full capacity, park picnics aren’t going anywhere. (However, New York state’s open container laws remain the same.) Luckily for us, Greenpoint and Williamsburg offer no shortage of excellent parks and no shortage of local restaurants and bars to fill your picnic basket (or more likely—your reusable tote bag).
Stymied on where to source your snacks? Don’t be! We’ve put together a handy guide of hyper-local eats (and drinks) to get you started on picnicking perfection.
If you’re meeting up with a taco-hungry crowd at East Williamsburg’s Cooper Park, stop at Mesa Coyoacan. Pick up one of their taquizas (make-your-own taco platters) with your choice of protein. Snag an order of churros, too—your friends will thank you. Nearby Grimm Artisanal Ales is a hometown favorite offering their excellent IPAs, sour ales, and lagers to go in cans, bottles, and growlers.
WNYC Transmitter Park
The stretch of Greenpoint Avenue that leads up to Transmitter Park offers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food. Go for eminently packable and portable banh mi from Di An Di. The innovative Vietnamese restaurant offers vegan and vegetarian twists on the sandwich, as well as chicken, fish, and the traditional pork belly. While you’re there, grab one of their spicy mezcal margaritas or a refreshing gin drink, aptly named “Passionate from 6-Ft. Away.”
Sure, the meeting of the East River and Newtown Creek isn’t exactly the beach—for example, the skyline is a lot fancier—but at Greenpoint Landing park, watching the boats go by feels just right paired with a lobster roll and Maine Root ginger beer from Lobster Joint. New England style (chilled, with mayo) or Connecticut style (hot and buttered)? We’ll leave that one up to you.
Though there are just about a million great restaurants surrounding always-buzzing McCarren Park, it’s always good to keep it classic, no matter what time of day. For a lunchtime hang, swing by Frankel’s for a bagel and lox or the pastrami. After 5 p.m., head to their recently reopened sister restaurant—and local institution—Bernie’s. You’ll be good to go with any of their main dishes, and don’t skip the mozzarella sticks. Thirsty for something that packs a little bit of a punch? Neighborhood standby Turkey’s Nest Tavern is famous for their affordable drinks and inconspicuous styrofoam cups.
Have a date you want to impress? Pick up a baguette and a spread of charcuterie at Monger’s Palate on Driggs Ave. and find a quiet spot in tree-lined McGolrick Park to set up your blanket. After that, you can (and should) round it out with a classic banana split from The Screen Door ice cream shop.