The changes on and around Manhattan Avenue for shopping and dining continue with recent openings and closings.
As announced on their Instagram, streetwear outlet and skateshop Coat of Arms (674 Manhattan Avenue) is closing after this Sunday, Jan. 20. The business originally opened in the Lower East Side in 2006 and relocated to its current Greenpoint location in 2014.
COA owner Aaron Hansen is preparing to move out west to sunny California and the lease is up at the Manhattan Avenue building, he’s also getting married in the spring and is ready for the next chapter. “Right now there is no plan to open a new location in CA but never say never,” Hansen said. He was also planning on keeping COA open through Sunday with the ongoing clearance sale, but the store’s stock is nearly sold out and the winter weather might impact foot traffic this weekend. “We’re almost sold out of everything, it’s looking pretty lonely in here now. Depending on today’s foot traffic and looking at the weather I think we may close Saturday night since Sunday looks pretty nasty,” Hansen said. Stop in on Saturday and wish him farewell.
Just a few steps off of Manhattan Avenue, Norman Cafe (93 Norman Ave.) opened three weeks ago serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a 100 percent vegetarian menu and many vegan and gluten-free options. The owner Jamal, who has lived in Greenpoint for 22 years, opened Greenburg Deli (236 N. 12th St.) near Mccarren Park (at Urban Rustics’ former space) in 2018, but decided to relocate to Norman Ave. by the G train after seeing slower than expected foot traffic in the winter.
With the location change, Jamal saw an opportunity to serve the neighborhood’s growing veggie food scene: “Most of our sales were vegetarian options at Greenburg,” Jamal said, adding that the vegan burrito with scrambled turmeric tofu, brown rice, black beans, and pico de gallo is one of the most popular menu items so far.
Norman Cafe is open Mon. – Fri. from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Continuing the plant-based trend in Greenpoint, the wonderful Polish women of Happy Zoe Vegan Bakery (102 Nassau Ave.) also relocated from their original Williamsburg location, in part due to the anticipation of the former l train shutdown, and are serving freshly baked vegan and gluten-free sweets. The cafe is run by a team of sisters and their mother who in addition to the baked goods also make delicious crepes for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Happy Zoe Bakery is open Tues. – Thur. 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Manhattan Avenue retail is in the midst of a rapid transition and very soon the avenue will be completely transformed into something totally different. Although there are some stores that have been on the avenue for my entire quarter-century in Greenpoint, a new breed of business is emerging, pushing out older established businesses and giving the avenue a new feel. As we reach the end of 2018, it is good to reflect on both what has remained unchanged, what has disappeared and what new businesses have taken root on the avenue.
There are a number of businesses that have deep roots, going back generations. Although the following list is not complete, Cato’s Army and Navy (654 Manhattan Ave.), Peter Pan Donut Shop (727 Manhattan Ave.), the Associated (802 Manhattan ave.) and C Town (953 Manhattan Ave.) supermarkets, McDonalds (904 Manhattan Ave.) and the Triple Decker (695 Manhattan Ave.) come immediately to mind as established institutions. Italy Pizza (788 Manhattan Ave.) and Russ’ Pizza (745 Manhattan Ave.) also have been serving great slices in the area for decades. Kiszka Meat Market (915 Manhattan ave.), Irene’s bar (623 Manhattan Ave.) and the Cafe Riviera (830 Manhattan ave.) are other examples of hardy Polish veterans that have changed little in the past 20 years.
Then, there are those businesses that were once institutions but have vanished. I still miss Cheap Charlie’s (712 Manhattan Ave.) where you could buy just about anything. Gone are Radio Shack (760 Manhattan Ave.) and Off-Track Betting (756 Manhattan Ave.), which were once thriving businesses on the avenue. When I first walked down Manhattan Avenue Corwith Brothers, which had generations of real estate sales in Greenpoint was on the East side of the street and Trunz meat market was across the street from it. For years there was a very popular English language school, I believe called the Greenpoint English School and a popular Polish disco called Europa (now the Good Room) on the corner of Meserole. There seemed to be ubiquitous dollar stores, some of which still survive at least until the lease is up. There were actually very few chain stores and most of the businesses on the avenue were family-owned, mom and pop stores. The Joseph and Sons furniture store comes to mind as does Jam’s stationary, and the Paris Shoe Store. Continue reading →
Get ready, Manhattan Avenue: another liquor license has been approved.
And that license is in good hands — Citroën, the new French bistro at 931 Manhattan Ave. with market-fresh ingredients, has been tantalizing Greenpointers with its unique cocktails on Instagram and leaving those in fear of political discussions around the Thanksgiving table wishing they were saddled up at the new restaurant’s custom-made bar.
In fact, much of the decor, chairs, and tables in Citroën — like the menu — is custom-made. That’s because long-time Brooklynite and kingpin of repurposed goods Craig Kafton is behind these nifty operations. Kafton created a similar experience at Williamsburg’s beloved but now closed Second Stop Café — notice the detail in Citroën’s recycled columns and bespoke tables — including a restored one made from Rosie Perez’ door in her old Brooklyn home.
“I’m spending more money than I ever have before on printer paper,” Todd Andrews jokingly tells me. That’s because Annicka (544 Manhattan Ave.), the recently re-opened farm brewery restaurant on a quiet edge of McCarren Park, where Andrews is both management consultant and head chef, has a drinks menu that changes almost every week. But, as far as expenses go, that paper seems to be well worth it.
A unique permit helps to explain Annicka’s frequently modified booze offerings. Ed Raven, Annicka’s owner, also owns Greenpoint Beer & Ale (7 N 15th St.), about a half mile away on Greenpoint’s West side, where he operates under a New York State farm brewery license. This allows him, as a local brewer, to serve his and other New York State produced and labeled beer, wine, cider, and spirits by the glass, at up to five retail locations without another permit. This encourages quite a bit of experimentation at Annicka, where Andrews and his team “have really run with it”, excitedly exploring what’s out there. So far he’s only had one table ask for something off menu that he couldn’t provide; his search for a New York State Sambuca continues. Continue reading →
Soft Opening (570 Manhattan Ave.) is one of Greenpoint’s latest additions and offers refuge from the always-on tech world in a thoughtfully curated plant shop abundant with nature you can bring home. You can also catch Soft Opening at the Greenpointers Samhain Fall Market happening this Sunday, Oct. 28.
The shop’s name is intentionally mysterious according to the owner, Kristin McLaughlin. “I love the way the words Soft Opening can mean different things to different people. A new bud or blossom can be a soft opening. An art reception can be a soft opening,” she said. Continue reading →
Last week’s opening of Annicka (544 Manhattan Ave) made New York State history. The restaurant represents the first time one has opened under New York State’s farm brewery license. Officially operated by Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Annicka is a celebration of the North Brooklyn community. They’re working with local chefs, fostering a chill ‘no assholes’ environment, and there’s more than one local artist on the walls. And the vegetable-heavy menu (there is meat!) is a welcome change from all the comfort food spots opening up all over the neighborhood.
The farm brewery license allows a New York State brewery to operate a restaurant in a different location than the actual brewery and to serve beer by the glass at that restaurant sans a separate license. This is why every tap at Annicka is something from Greenpoint Beer i.e. you don’t have to walk all the way over to the brewery to enjoy a few. As for the food, Greenpoint Beer is collaborating with North Brooklyn Farms as well as Christian Perkins, a former Marlow & Daughters butcher, and Emma Jane Gonzalez, a vegan. Continue reading →
Whether you’re jogging down Franklin Street or getting an early morning spin class in at the Greenpoint YMCA (99 Meserole Ave), or even perhaps flowing through a peaceful sweat at Usha Veda Yoga (1006 Manhattan Ave), the best part of any workout, really, is when you’re done.
As you catch your breath and dab away the sweat you get to focus on the next best thing—and no we aren’t talking about an ab sequence to follow or even an extra sprint-mile here—we’re talking post-workout eats! It is time to fuel up, because you deserve it! Lucky for us, Greenpoint has almost as many healthy grab n’ go spots as it does dark-lit bars and Polish bakeries. Whether you are getting your sweat on in the early morning or grinding it out after work in the evening, here are the best spots to fuel back up—and not feel bad about being completely sweaty and out of breath.
If you are an early riser.
Brooklyn Standard – 188 Nassau Ave Don’t get your sports bra in a tangle, the Brooklyn Standard is nothing like The Standard Hotel. This natural foods deli/coffee shop/bakery/enhanced-Bodega is perfect for anyone who needs something healthy at 7 a.m. and on. The neighborhood spot is open from 7-11 p.m. daily and offers breakfast all day along with an impressive selection of fresh squeezed juices and protein-packed smoothies. Enjoying your run around McGolrick park and need a kale, apple, lemon juice before you officially start your day? Brooklyn Standard is your spot. Continue reading →
Korean BBQ. Fried Chicken. Bulgogi. These are just a few of the specialties at Bulbap Grill, the new Korean fusion restaurant at 646 Manhattan Avenue. Yes, the former site of our beloved Lomzynianka.
Bulbap Grill is looking to bring traditional Korean food to Greenpointers through a simple and short menu of core specialties like BBQ, rice bowls, chicken wings and tacos. The owner’s goal is to build a recognizable brand of restaurants, synonymous with great traditional and Korean fusion foods with the Greenpoint location being the first of three opening in the tri-state area. Continue reading →
A very warm Bienvenue, to The Gentry! This absolutely adorable French-Canadian inspired restaurant by Chef Gillian Clark is now open on Manhattan Avenue and we couldn’t be more excited. From the moment I stepped in, I realized that this is a place I will frequent often. The décor is a little Louis XIV, a little Lewis Carroll, and a dash of Brooklyn. Ornate gold mirrors of various shapes and sizes adorn the walls in a style that would make Pinterest users swoon and a cabinet is lined with a collection of teacups. The wooden tables are engraved with French scroll, adding a casual touch to the otherwise Baroque atmosphere. The sign out front proclaims that this is Montreal-style cuisine, and I smile with the knowledge that they have an entire menu page devoted to poutines. Continue reading →