Back in 2008, an Australian-American restaurant/bar opened on Bedford with its primary claim to fame being that Heath Ledger (RIP) had been involved in its conception. Now, Five Leaves is closing in on nine years in the neighborhood and is still one of the most popular spots around. It’s burger and pancakes are institutions on the New York dining scene and that weekend brunch wait hasn’t gotten any shorter. This doesn’t mean that they want to rest on their laurels though. If you’ve stopped by this year, you may have noticed both the food and cocktail menus changing ever so slightly towards a little more seasonality. They’re definitely giving the locals a good reason to stop by for dinner.
Five Leaves did always have a seasonal and organic angle to their menu, but when Chef Warren Baird took the helm in the kitchen towards the end of 2015, he knew it was time to step up their game a little bit. The local and sustainable movement has grown a lot in the past few years. Now, producers and consumers are more aware of our food systems’ environmental impact. But, luckily, consumers are also more willing to trust a chef when presented with unique dishes, like blue catfish done up Szechuan-style. Continue reading →
Back in 2003, Bedford Cheese Shop opened its doors in the small mini mall in Williamsburg. The tiny shop was one of the first in the neighborhood to offer specialty cheeses, charcuterie, and packaged foodstuffs. In 2006, the owner Charlotte Kamin moved all the beautiful cheeses to the corner space on Bedford Avenue and North 4th Street. But the space was small, and you often felt a little cramped if more than a handful of customers were in the store. When it came time to renew their lease, she began looking around for a bigger space. Luckily, a larger space opened up just down the avenue at 265 Bedford and the whole shop moved three blocks to its new home last August.
And with everything all settled in, it’s time to really invite the neighbors in for drinks and nibbles. Starting last week, the new Bedford Cheese began weekly themed tastings, and this week, they’ll begin serving their cafe menu. Continue reading →
It wasn’t that shocking when Nights & Weekends closed in early March. The bar had always been the “cool” spot while occupying the triangle space of the Bedford/Nassau/Lorimer/McCarren intersection. But the crew parted ways with the owners of Five Leaves back in November, and it was destined to become something else. Thankfully, it wasn’t closed for long. One speedy renovation later, it’s now open as One Bedford. Not only is the interior redesigned, the restaurant now has a whole new day-long menu. Continue reading →
“NEW FRIED CHICKEN JOINT ON MY BLOCK” read the text message accompanying a selfie of my friend in front of a pretty-in-pink menu posted in the window of 14 Bedford Avenue. Since that mid-December text, the opening of the new Five Leaves neighbor, Pretty Southern, was on my radar. A few weeks ago, also accompanied by my informant and two of our friends whose culinary opinions we highly value, I dug into that eagerly anticipated “healthful take on fried chicken and celebrated southern comfort fare.” Continue reading →
Going into ice cream actually started as a joke for David Yoo. After beginning a career in fashion and advertising, he decided in 2012 that it was time for a change. A few jokes later, he came to the realization that “ice cream is like blank canvas” ready for creative interpretations, and getting into the ice cream business might allow for the real hands-on creative hijinks he was searching for. So he enrolled in the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course, Class of 2013; gave his job a six-month notice; and by Friday, September 13th, Davey’s Ice Cream was open in the East Village. Late last summer, Davey’s brought their ice cream across the river to Bedford Avenue. Continue reading →
There is a gem of a gallery tucked away on the second floor of a quiet, four-story brownstone on 168 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, just off busy Bedford Avenue: Figureworks. And, inside this gallery right now, there is an exhibition of watercolors, drawings, and sculptures that is entirely “void of color.” The effect is transporting in such a way that the gallery seems like a separate world entirely, removed from the cityscape outside and, thus, a perfect respite for those in pursuit of silence and inspiration. Greenpointers recently caught up with gallery Director Randall Harris to discuss this exhibition, “Without/Color” (Part 1). Continue reading →
Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass is the only shop in Brooklyn that sells and repairs jazz players’ instruments.
The owner, Eric Downs, 42, opened his niche business about a year ago. He sells saxophones, flutes, trumpets and other instruments. He said the shop has been profitable since the first 30 days of operation.
“There is no competition,” he said. Located on Bedford, the Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass serves professional musicians and all the high schools in the area.
He said he was confident about launching a startup during the economic downturn. Downs is a professional saxophone player. He said it gives him an advantage because most craftsmen who work on music instruments are not.
He saved to open his shop in Greenpoint for 10 years. The rent security deposit was $20,000. Downs said he still needs time for a payback. In terms of payroll and balance sheets, he hopes to recover his initial investments in the shop in one or two years. His business is yet in transition stage. “I am nearly at the point to start hiring people,” said Downs.
He said he was lucky to get a commercial lease in Greenpoint. In New York City, in general, there’s a fight for a good place to rent. The landlord is in the restaurant business so he didn’t consider Downs a competitor. There’s no possible way to try to open a restaurant in this area, – said Downs. “A usual lifespan of a new restaurant in New York is six to nine months,” he said, “Competition is ridiculous.”
Blue ocean strategy worked perfectly for Downs. In case you are a businessman planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint, here’s a bunch of helpful resources.
The Greenpoint Business Alliance (GBA) is an association of merchants, businesses, property owners and community organizations of the neighborhood. Its mission is to support the economic development through collaboration of businesses within the 11222 zip code.
If you have not yet come up with your business idea, a local blog could inspire you to bring the neighborhood something everybody is longing for.
The New York Times offers an efficient tool to find recent real-estate prices in Greenpoint. Another helpful website mns.com has recent rent statistics.
Finally, a good way to save up is to explore the waterfront area. Developments there are eligible for a 25-year tax exemption if 20% of the on-site units are provided for low-income households or 25 percent of the on-site units are provided for low and moderate households, New York City Greenpoint-Williamsburg inclusionary housing program reports.
Are you planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint? Why do you think it’s the right or wrong time?
Last week I posted about a new spot to open in the old Raymund’s Place on Bedford Avenue and Eater confirms that the space is going to be called Allswell.
Nate Smith, the chef who left The Spotted Pig and helmed Prospect Heights tavern Dean Street for the better part of the month, has a new restaurant in the works in Williamsburg. He and two partners will open a 40-seat bar and restaurant called Allswell there this September. – Read more here.
Opening September 2011
124 Bedford Avenue
Long time Williamsburg Polish restaurant Raymund’s Place quietly closed up shop a few weeks ago despite “renovation” signs. A new restaurant – Kettle Pie – has applied for their liquor license and apparently will be taking it’s place. Kettle Pie Inc. was recently incorporated and falls into the “bakeries & catering” category… Curiouser and curiouser…