Café Camellia (318 Graham Ave.) opened earlier this year in a space that used to be home to the Garden Grill diner. Garden Grill closed in 2018 after serving the neighborhood for 21 years. 

After being vacant for over five years, Café Camellia has breathed new life into the Williamsburg locale with a menu of refined comfort food rooted in Southern traditions filled with locally sourced ingredients.

The exterior of Café Camellia in Williamsburg. Photo: Café Camellia

At the helm of Café Camellia’s kitchen is Chef Roger Jacobsen, who hails from Mobile, Alabama. Chef Jacobsen found himself in kitchens at an early age, shucking oysters while in between tours with his band. After discovering his true passion for cooking, he hasn’t left the kitchen since. 

Chef Jacobsen brings considerable culinary experience with him from across the East Coast. In 2007, he landed in New York at Manhattan’s ‘Inoteca, and then spent a few years at Blue Water Grill and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Café Camellia is his first restaurant in North Brooklyn. 

Café Camellia’s prawn and grits dish. Photo: Café Camellia

Chef Jacobsen’s menu aims to infuse each dish with a taste of the Gulf Coast. It kicks off with a large section of small plates with Southern specialties like crab cakes, country-fried baby back ribs, fried pickled green tomatoes, charred okra and tomatoes, and hush puppies. 


The menu’s section of large plates includes a bone-in Delmonico steak, blackened catfish, grilled wild striped bass, prawn and grits, and grilled royal trumpet mushrooms. Dessert options include a key lime pie and a banana pudding tart.

Café Camellia’s key lime pie. Photo: Café Camellia

Café Camellia also has a full bar consisting of local craft beers, a robust selection of natural wines, and unique cocktails, including the fan-favorite margarita which the restaurant describes as “different and special.” And, of course, they serve a great sweet tea. 

“The response from the community has been overwhelming with positivity,”  Jason Kraft, the Operations Director of Café Camellia told Greenpointers. “Most of the core business has been reoccurring regulars from the neighborhood.”

Café Camellia is now likely to be bombarded with visitors from outside the neighborhood as it just landed on The New York Times’ list of “The 50 Restaurants in the U.S. We’re Most Excited About Right Now.”

Café Camellia is open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

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