Greenpoint’s newest hangout is sure to become a neighborhood favorite. The Esters (192 Nassau Ave.) describes itself as a bar with wine, beer, and cocktails as well as snacks, charcuterie, and pizza from Greenpoint’s very own Pizza Girl (@thepizzagirlnyc).
Co-owners Jenny Olbrich and Alicia Rebesndorf are both science aficionados and named The Esters after an organic chemical compound found in wine and cheese. The bar’s logo and wood ceiling design are inspired by some of the zig-zag structures in chemical diagrams of esters.
Rebesndorf explained that they created The Esters “throughout COVID when science was both heralded and dismissed.” The science theme is inherent in the bar’s other design elements, too, with table identifiers and check presenters as periodic numbers and a periodic table of wine that organizes the wine into categories.
Olbrich and Rebesndorf are both Greenpoint residents. Olbrich, aka Pizza Girl, has lived in Greenpoint for over twenty years. After a life as a competitive rower and mountain biker and owner of an award-winning seasonal pizza shop in Rhode Island, Olbrich moved back to Brooklyn full-time.
She helped out at Rebesndorf’s bar Tuffet, a Brooklyn bar with a similar concept, making pizzas for parties. Tuffet’s party menu was revamped to feature her pizzas, and the @thepizzagirlnyc business took off.
When the pandemic forced Tuffet to close, Olbrich began selling her pies via bike delivery, riding through heat streaks and blizzards all over the city, selling out every week. When Tuffet re-opened, she resumed producing pizzas in a big backyard with a fireplace, making it accessible even during the pandemic winters.
Rebesndorf, the owner of Tuffet and co-owner of The Esters, moved to Brooklyn about seventeen years ago. She was a writer, waiting tables in fine dining establishments on the side. “I realized I liked my waiting job more than my writing one,” mused Rebesndorf. So she opened Tuffet in 2011.
After finding the perfect corner for her second venture, Rebesndorf brought Olbrich on board as a partner and pizza maker. “It was a no brainer: she’s brilliant and dedicated, loves her craft and is amazing with people,” said Rebesndorf, who is in charge of the bar’s design and wine program while Olbrich focuses on the menu and pizza program.
The Esters has a small kitchen, and Rebesndorf emphasized that the space was designed to be a bar with cheese and pizza, and not a full-service restaurant. The pizzas will be individually-sized, around 6 x 9 inches. Salads will be added to the menu in the coming months.
“We want people to enjoy the space we created. And enjoy the food we make. And the wine we’ve chose,” said Rebesndorf, who is thankful for the positive response from the neighborhood. The Esters “has been super well received and we are so excited to be part of this neighborhood we both call home.”