Brooklyn Label

Greenpoint Food & Drink: Summer News Round-up

Brooklyn Barge Bar

There’s been a whole lot of comings and goings amongst Greenpoint’s bars and restaurants recently.  Here’s a round-up of a few changes that are on our radar…

Brooklyn Barge Bar  (3 Milton Street) – This novelty floating bar has been a long time in the making and it’s looking like they’ll miss the boat with the summer crowd if they don’t get things going soon. Time Out are throwing a ‘first look’ party  ($25 for unlimited beer and oysters) on the barge on August 26th, so it’s quite likely that this will be their opening night. Let’s hope they don’t have to cancel like they did with their 4th July celebrations. But, if they do, at least it means that Transmitter Park will stay a haven of tranquillity for a little longer.

Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin Street) – A sign in the window of this popular brunch spot says ‘closed for renovation’, along with a request to renew their sidewalk liquor license. However, it’s just been confirmed by the owners that the business is actually being sold and will be re-opening as something different in due course.  Continue reading

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Top Brunching with Brooklyn Label’s New Chef José Luis Diaz

Cuban Tamale with Pulled Pork

Whenever we have friends in town, the weekend usually starts with a hearty Greenpoint brunch to show off the neighborhood. And although there’s been endless new places opening up recently, when it comes to wowing visitors we often end up leaning on old classics for great food and reliable service

Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St.) is one of these classics. Continue reading

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Last week was a rough for me. 911 always brings me down plus I got doored with a capital – slam me into the middle of the street – D! It was one of the scariest and alienating experiences of my life. After I got up and picked up my bicycle, the first thing the driver said was not, “are you okay?” but “you were going to fast.” After the rage subsided I started shaking and crying uncontrollably, which is a little awkward on Graham Ave with all the staring passersby. Thankfully, I’m totally fine, bruised up but alive. The mental trauma and my general disenchantment with NY set in for a few days afterwards – it’s such a rough and unforgiving place sometimes.  Continue reading

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An excellent espresso is a cafe’s best business card. On Sunday October 2, 2011, Rebecca from I love Greenpoint, Mike & Charlie from Brooklynauts and I tasted a total of 19 espressos from every cafe* in Greenpoint in order to determine the champion of the Greenpointers 2011 Espresso Tour. The density of outstanding espressos in this neighborhood was impressive and made the tour difficult to judge, but we have a winner!

Greenpointers Espresso Tour Map

Each cafe was notified and generously donated 3 espressos. We judged using the following score sheet adapted from the World Barista Championship:

• COLOR OF CREMA (hazelnut, dark brown, reddish reflection)  0/10  ___
• CONSISTENCY & PERSISTENCE OF CREMA*                        0/10  ___
• TASTE BALANCE (harmonious balance of sweet/acidic/bitter)  0/10  ___
• TACTILE BALANCE (full bodied, round, smooth)               0/10  ___
• TEMPERATURE** (hot but not too hot to drink)               0/10  ___
0/50  ___

• CORRECT ESPRESSO CUPS USED (60-90mL w/handle)              YES/NO
• SERVED WITH ACCESSORIES (spoon, napkin & water)            YES/NO
/2   ___

After judges’ individual scores were added, the highest possible score was 156. Results ranged between 97-142. (Only the top 3 scores are revealed.)

*We were unable to contact Ashbox and the cafe was closed on Sunday.



*** 1st Place: Cup on Norman ***

Top Score: 142

2nd Place: Upright ( Score: 139)

3rd Place: Grumpy & Champion (Scores: 138 each)


Best on Franklin St: Veronica People’s Club
Best on Manhattan Ave: Upright
Best near McGolrick Park: Variety
Best Overall Experience: Veronica People’s Club
Best Coffee Bar: Troost
Best Presentation: Le Gamin & Cafecito Bogota
Hottest Barista: Janna at Van Leeuwen
Best Team: Cookie Road
Most Unassuming: Garden Spot Cafe
Most Charming: Milk & Roses
Best Value: Royal & VPC ($2)

Congratulations to CUP, the 2011 Greenpointers Espresso Tour Champion!

THE WHOLE STORY: Continue reading

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Blog Buzz: Wooden Phone Booth Habitats

Here’s another Blog Buzz post. More and more Greenpoint gossip about town to keep up with.

The Fading Ad Blog has a number of cool Greenpoint pics but check out Greenpoint Mufflers & Pipes – Manhattan Avenue 2003 and maybe you can help decipher the old writing on the wall. – Fading Ad Blog by Frank H. Jump

When Two Blogs Unite they apparently do an old school tour of The Point. Bonus points for including Irene’s Bar. Though any Pointer worth his salt knows that’s not the only old time wooden phone booth in the neighborhood. Remember the one at Bee’s? Any others anyone can think of? – Urbanite

Regina Spektor is coming to town this Saturday to celebrate Record Store Day. – Eventful

Bitch to the NYC Transit President Howard Roberts about the G Train tomorrow night at the NYC TRANSIT RIDERS COUNCIL 2008 PRESIDENT’S FORUM ON SUBWAYS. – Save The G

The Habitat finally opened this past weekend. Word has it there are 12 New York microbrews are on tap. – Gothamist

On Sunday April 27th, there’s the Artwalking: Bedford Avenue exhibition, where thirty stores on Bedford Avenue are going to show art installations in their store windows. According to Matthew Silver, the person in charge has been gathering a ton of street performers to make the streets very colorful. If you’re interested in participating check out the Craigslist ad here. – The Bedford Circle of Fools

Dandelion Wine is opening up right outside my window and barring any nonsense from the State Liquor Authority (remember when Brooklyn Label was supposed to have theirs in time for Christmas? See how well that worked out.) should be open by May. Not a big wine connoisseur myself but I can always appreciate more alcohol in the hood.

And of course don’t forget about Darts coming to Greenpoint – sign up, already! – Greenpointers

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The New Brooklyn Label?

I passed by tonight and noticed a chalkboard read something to the effect of them having a new revamped menu coming soon and then tonight I get the comment below…

Hi to all from Brooklyn Label-

We’d like to let everyone know what’s up lately at Brooklyn Label. We have brought on a new Head Chef, Ed Bode, whom some of you already know from Union Picnic. We’re happy to have him and look forward to the additions he will bring to our kitchen and menu.

As for the plethora of other questions:

1. Booze IS coming, we have been approved for our liquor license but have to finalize a permit from the previous owners first. If you’ve ever dealt with the city on anything, you know, I’m sure, this means we could have our license in a couple of weeks, or, mostly likely, a couple of months. In the mean time, we are going to a winter schedule and closing at 7pm. When we have our license and spring has sprung outdoor seating, we will reintroduce dinner.

2. We are working very hard to improve things at BL, from bringing in more vegan and vegetarian options to changing over to soy oil (instead of butter) to cook our eggs, hash browns, and some of our breakfast entrees. Many of our purveyors have hiked their prices substantially, especially baked goods due to a huge increase in flour prices this year (I won’t even go into the politics driving that issue). When we’ve needed to we’ve raised prices to reflect our increased. We’ve been looking at different distributors to try to cut costs, and when we can, we will reflect it in our prices.

3. Brunches here are crazy, there are no two ways about it.

4. We appreciate the hard work that went into starting up Brooklyn Label, and we believe we can continue to improve.

Thanks to all of our regular customers and weekend brunch-warriors for coming to our restaurant. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback.


April Goettle
GM, Brooklyn Label

I think it’s great that the new management over there is ‘listening to feedback’. Brunch is always crazy there but that’s still no excuse for the seriously bad attitudes of the staff there. It takes a lot for me to say that because I know that being a waitress/waiter/host/hostess is no easy task – especially when things are crazy. But the fact that every single time I’ve been in there I’ve felt that the staff was either rude or incompetent – or both – has to count for something.

I’ve witnessed it take ten minutes to turn a table over there. The people have left and then it’s five minutes or more before the table is cleaned and then yet another five minutes or more before the table is sat. All this while there are twenty people waiting staring at the table. It’s like BL is more concerned with hiring cute hipsters instead of actual people who can do the job.

I have no problem waiting for a table or service if the person who finally does come around is nice and genuinely apologetic for the wait. It’s Waitressing 101. I still eat there but only as a last resort which is a shame because it’s right downstairs. If there’s any improving going to go on, I sincerely hope they take a look at the attitude and competence of the staff. A smile works wonders kids.

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Brooklyn Label Loses Cody?

I got this as an email and a comment tonight:

Chef Cody Utzman/Press Release

To my Loyal customers and fans: On Feb 1st 2008, I resigned my position as Founder/Head Chef/Owner of Brooklyn Label, due to un-reconcilable differences with Financial business partners. Since then I have noticed numerous comments on quality and service throughout blogs and web reviews and want to let my loyal customers, friends and neighbors know that I have left the trust of your favorite neighborhood café in the hands of my ex partners and crew, and I wish them the best and most success possible. As many of you know I was a regular feature behind the counter or in the kitchen making sure all your needs where met and your food was “excellent” every time. I fully intend to complete my mission statement of bringing the most “excellent” products, services, coffee, and neighborhood business improvements to Greenpoint. I am currently working on a really exciting project that should be open summer of 2008. Thank you again for all your support, rave reviews, and friendship in the past year. I look forward to welcoming everyone to my new place that will be the very best you’ve seen yet!!

I am creating a mailing list to notify you all of my future projects. If you would like to join, send an email with “Brooklyn” in the subject to [email protected]

Please feel free to repost.


Cody Utzman

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Bloody Merrys at Brooklyn Label

My earlier post seems to have been wrong. I got the information from official city websites so I can’t say that I’m surprised. Eh.

Chef Cody Utzmann of Brooklyn Label sent me the following email:

Thought you would like to know, we received our full liquor license approval letter one week ago from the state. We will be having the best bloody Mary’s ever real soon. We are currently in the process of obtaining inventory and build out required for the storage and preparation of cocktail, beer and wine. Should be no later than Dec 1st. PS thanks for the good comments!!!

Just in time for Christmas!

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Questions: Booze at BL?

There’s an UPDATE to this post here.

Here’s a new question I received today. It’s one I was curious about myself!

“here i am, a newly-minted greenpointer asking an old school greenpointer this:

will Brooklyn Label ever get a liquor license or do they choose not to have one, going the BYOB route? i did as one of the waitstaff once but she did not know.

love the place, excellent food and coffee, right around the corner from me in the infamous Astral and was curious.



I did a little digging and according to the New York State Liquor Authority, Brooklyn Label filed for a “Restaurant Wine” class license on 7/2/07 and it’s status is currently pending.

I thought that was a little odd since they were open for awhile, why so long before they applied?

So I checked into the mandatory Community Board thing applicants have to go through, which from what Ive heard can make or break you getting a license. From the NYSLA website:

“On-premises license applicants must notify the appropriate government entity (village, town or city clerk or the appropriate community board if in NYC) as well as the designated newspaper of a pending license application at a particular location.”

According to the CB #1 Brooklyn Label was first on the docket to be heard in October 2006 for a new Liquor License (The Gutter, which has it’s liquor license since it opened just a few months ago was on the same list that date). Then they’re shown on both the June 12th and June 28th 2007 meetings but this time designated for a Restaurant Wine License.

My assumption from this information is that they didn’t get the full bar liquor license and they refiled for just beer and wine and it’s currently pending.

So it doesn’t look like you’re going to be having a Bloody Mary any time soon at your Brooklyn Label brunch. But maybe a beer with your burger isn’t that far off.

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