Keren Ziv’s lifelong dream is coming true, and with it, she’s connecting to her family history.
Greta, a cafe named after Keren’s late grandmother, opened on Sunday, September 12, near the Northwest entrance to McGolrick Park. Crowds lined up outside to order espresso drinks and matcha lemonade, and all-day bites, wonderfully surprising Keren, wowed by the community interest and support.
“The neighborhood has been so welcoming,” she said, “Everyone is really happy to see us here. It’s awesome, it’s such a nice feeling.”
Having worked her way up from a motorcycle delivery person for Israel’s first Domino’s, to a branch manager by the time she was in her early twenties, Keren had cut her teeth in the food industry, eventually moving to New York City to study marketing and work in insurance.
After she and her wife Orit Kaufman became parents three years ago, Keren sold her shares of the company she spent most of her career at, prioritizing spending time with her new baby and focusing on launching her dream project: A neighborhood cafe. The longtime Greenpoint residents looked for a space, but rental prices were just too high — how could selling coffee and pastries pay $10,000 in monthly rent, support a family, and pay staff fairly?
Eventually, the couple decided to mix Orit’s dream of becoming a real estate developer, with Keren’s of cafe ownership, renovating a building with a commercial downstairs space, the soon-to-be-Greta’s, and five rental apartments on top. An architect and designer, Orit already had experience designing local cafes, and used her skills to build out Greta’s. The apartments above will be on the rental market soon as well.
To eat, the menu is full of contemporary Middle Eastern style cafe fare, like Greta’s salad tossed in green tahini, shakshuka with harissa eggplant spread, an excellent pita grilled cheese, and avocado toast topped with labneh and a sprinkle of sumac.
Coffee beans are roasted weekly in Red Hook specifically for Greta, and several menu items are sourced locally in Greenpoint — fresh pressed juice comes from Bagelpoint, meats from a butcher within walking distance, and Keren envisions a local CSA partnership in upcoming seasons.
Greta is located at 204 Nassau Ave. and open Tuesday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.