Coffee

Eat Sweet Treats Like It’s Your Job: Ovenly is Hiring Baristas!

A latte at Ovenly. Photo: Casey Feehan
A latte at Ovenly. Photo: Casey Feehan
Ovenly is currently hiring for part-time retail baristas at their Greenpoint (31 Greenpoint Ave) and Park Slope (210 Flatbush Ave) locations.
To apply, send an email to [email protected]

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6 Greenpoint Cafés Serving More Than Your Average Latte

Budin's Secret Licorice Latte
Budin’s Secret Licorice Latte  Photo by Lucie Levine

New York has run on coffee since at least 1668, when the first written reference to the drink in America noted that New Yorkers were imbibing a brew made of roasted beans flavored with sugar, or honey and cinnamon. Following the Civil War, our beloved borough became the center of the national coffee trade. By the turn of the 20th century, 86% of the nation’s coffee docked in New York Harbor, and John Arbuckle’s plant on John Street in DUMBO roasted more coffee than any other building in the world.

Today, Brooklynites are pioneering the “third wave” specialty coffee craze, and our local roasters are flavoring their drinks with a lot more than sugar or honey and cinnamon. In the name of investigative journalism, I set out to sample some of that local flavor. In Greenpoint alone, that means turmeric, lavender, licorice and other assorted delights. These are not your average pours and they’ll run you more than a regular coffee, but if you’re looking to splurge on something special, read on for Greenpoint’s most exciting coffee concoctions. Continue reading

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Pueblo Querido, A Passion for Colombian Coffee

Greenpoint’s own Colombian coffee roasters  All images: Pueblo Querido/Instagram

There are a lot of people in Greenpoint who claim to know coffee, but I can safely say that no one in Greenpoint who knows more about coffee than owners of the Pueblo Querido Café on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard (195 Greenpoint Ave). Run by two brothers, Christian and Fabian Guzman Herrera, along with Fabian’s wife Andrea, the three Colombians come from the Quindío region in the heart of Colombia’s coffee growing heartland, known as the coffee triangle. Right now, probably a hundred angry baristas are ready to write snide comments, but please bear with me. The family grew up on a coffee farm and have a lifetime of experience with every aspect of making the perfect cup of coffee from growing the beans, to roasting the coffee themselves, to pouring out a perfect espresso or cappuccino. Continue reading

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Williamsburg’s New Fancy Doughnut Shop, Du’s Donuts

Greenpoint will always have our beloved Peter Pan, and on Wednesday, Williamsburg got its own doughnut shop. Du’s Donuts and Coffee, at the base of Williamsburg’s new William Vale Hotel, is easily one of the year’s most anticipated openings in the New York City food world. It marks the return of chef and molecular gastronomy poster boy Wylie Dufresne to the kitchen, after the closing of his world-famous wd~50 and Alder. Now, instead of edamame ice cream and freeze-dried corn, he’s putting his genius towards unique doughnut flavors alongside his pastry chef Colin Kull. Rest assured, the crowds will come. Continue reading

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The Piadine Reigns Supreme at Williamsburg’s Lella Alimentari

Photo © Kevin Irby
Photo © Kevin Irby

“With this finger, I tasted the world.” Massimiliano Nanni raises his right pointer finger while recounting his childhood in Rimini, Italy, where his mother, Lella Alimentari’s namesake, ran a popular restaurant. “I would sit at the counter of the kitchen and I taste the papaya, I taste the kiwi—nobody have a kiwi in Italy, I come from a place with the truffle—I eat the frog, I eat the eel, I eat the snake. We want to try everything. This was my childhood.”

Massimiliano Nanni © Kevin Irby

Nanni, known to friends as Chicco, met his wife, Paola Cittero while working on an Italian aquatic TV show. He was a diving assistant, she was the production designer. This is a funny detail given the strong Life Aquatic vibe in the café they’ve created. Between Nanni’s normally red cap (today it is pink) and quirky demeanor, Cittero’s blue jumpsuit and the vintage toys and uneven hand stamped signage, I can practically hear Seau Jorge strumming Bowie tunes.

owners of Lella Alimentari
“We are old friends. Sometimes your best friend becomes your husband.” Photo © Kevin Irby

Nanni’s been in the restaurant biz since 1995 when he opened Piadina in the West Village. In the intervening years, he’s opened many other restaurants, including the popular wood-fired pizza superstar Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, which Cittero designed and which feels like a big brother to the more intimate Lella (325 Manhattan Avenue). Nanni left Saraghina in 2011 and opened a now-shuttered seafood restaurant before hopping over to Williamsburg. The location was intentional, just across the street from PS 132 where Nanni and Cittero’s children go to school. After school, the kids hang out among the locals, many of whom are on laptops. “We don’t like to say we are chefs,” says Cittero, “we just cook. We’re cooking. We are both food lovers. I’m a production designer, an artist, we consider this our cafeteria. We are making food we usually make at home, that we give out to our kids.”

artwork made by Lella's owners' son.
“We dream about writing a book one day with all the drawings from my little boy, we like the name ‘The Cook, the Wife, and the Red Hat.’” Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella’s specialty is the piadina, a sort of Italian quesadilla that’s popular in Nanni’s hometown. Every day he makes the piadina bread, then stuffs it with ingredients like roasted seasonal veggies and stracchino, a luscious unripened Italian cheese. Nothing is fussy, just fresh ingredients prepared beautifully; a poached egg over cauliflower, bacon, and chickpeas. Potato leek soup with speck. Burrata with roasted beets and carrots. They also have homemade pastries, quiche, and salads, most often topped with a poached egg.

Eggs are poached or soft boiled, never fried. Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella’s vibe is laid back cool and playful. It is European-feeling and whimsical without a hint of pretension. Toy trucks huddle near a vase of yellow tulips. A battered metal crock overflows with potatoes. The tin ceilings are whitewashed, walls are lined with Italian goods, books, an old scale. Art magazines and vintage action figures are scattered about. Lella is warm and chummy, just four sun-drenched booths and a communal table.

Photo © Kevin Irby

One of my favorite design elements is the handy takeaway window. “We sell the coffee by the window and we get all the people with dogs,” says Cittero. “Bike. Stroller. For me, it was like decoration, but we get the dog community.”

Photo © Kevin Irby

Nanni is already dreaming of his next venture: to host a program training former convicts as pizzaiolos. He’s eyeing a location in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. “The Pizzaiolo was teaching to the penitentiary in my town. These men, what they went through, most of the time it’s really traumatic. They need to be working, working, working. They will learn fast. It will help them.”

Photo © Kevin Irby

“Art, food and a lot of love,” Cittero says as she glances at Nanni who is in the kitchen dancing to The Human League. “We keep busy.” She smiles and looks out the window. “And just look at this beautiful light.”

A patron on her laptop in one of four sunny booths. Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella Alimentari | 325 Manhattan Avenue
718-599-1986
Open 8am to 7pm every day

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My Bageri Has a First Name, it’s M-E-Y-E-R-S

Selection of loaves
loaves via Meyers Bageri Facebook page

Meyers Bageri’s (667 Driggs Avenue) first stateside bakery began as a Saturday pop-up, in the space they now occupy full-time—the former home of Margo Patisserie. Back in February, word began to spread of Saturday’s pop-up and the lines quickly followed. In late July, Meyers Bageri took over the space completely and has subsequently been introducing North Brooklyn to Claus Meyer’s brand of New Nordic Cuisine. Continue reading

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Sunday Snaps – Favorite Place for a Cup of Joe?

As the weather gets cooler, a warm cup of joe in the morning becomes even more delightful. Luckily, us Greenpointers have plenty of choices when it comes to quality coffee. I stopped by ten neighborhood spots recently and spoke to patrons, baristas, and even a few coffee-obsessed (and surprisingly well spoken) pups about why they like their favorite coffee shops!

steve-propeller-web
“I come here every morning and have a soy flat white. I work in SoHo and I think this is better than anything they’ve got over there. For my money, it’s the best in the city.” – Steve, at Propeller Coffee (984 Manhattan Ave.)

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The Lot Radio: Broadcasting Live From A Shipping Container

Francois Vaxelaire inside the coffee kiosk at The Lot Radio.
Francois Vaxelaire inside the coffee kiosk at The Lot Radio.

For years the little triangle of land between Nassau Avenue, Banker Street and North 15th Street was home to a couple of weather beaten RVs and tumbleweeds of trash. Then one day, multimedia producer Francois Vaxelaire saw a sign. It was both a fateful one and a literal one, posted on the building across the street advertising the plot of land for rent. He had a vision flash before him that he needed to rent the land and launch an internet radio station.

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Coffee & Tea Festival Caffeinates Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Expo Center

Teacoffeefestivalnyc2016-Toby'sestate
Toby’s Estate shots. All photos by Jessica Fejos.

Coffee isn’t just a hashtag on social media — it’s an outright online phenomenon (peep these analytics for coffee if you don’t believe us). With that many likes, The Coffee & Tea Festival at the Brooklyn Expo Center was a crowded event, featuring 60 exhibitors and drawing fans of both divinely-caffeinated beverages.

Australian companies were a significant presence at the event, with Williamsburg’s Toby’s Estate featuring the best coffee at the festival.  Continue reading

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