The top 10 new Brooklyn spots we’re most excited to sink our teeth into this season.
September may signal the beginning-of-the-end for outdoor drinking season, but foodies know it’s also the start of one of the restaurant industry’s busiest opening rushes—not to mention some of the year’s tastiest ingredients. (Hellooooo, squash season!) Brooklyn’s September through December lineup is already packed with everything from upstart sandwich shops to West Coast imports, and even the return of a certified Brooklyn legend. Here are the top 10 upcoming restaurants that have us salivating.
10. Brooklyn Sandwich Society
We’ve been stoked about this new Fort Greene sandwich shop since they announced their opening way back in March, promising extravagant spring sandwiches like roasted lamb with fava bean mash, grilled ramps and mint persillade on sunflower rye. That target opening has long since come and gone, with permit problems holding up BSS even as their beautiful, subway tile-lined interior has sat ready and waiting for months, teasing hungry neighbors on a daily basis. The Society does indeed plan to open soon, now with an autumn menu of high-end sandwiches. They’ll start with dinner and brunch, then expand to lunch. Expected opening: September/October, 184 Dekalb Avenue, brooklynsandwichsociety.com
9. Dear Bushwick
Could there be anything more impossibly hipster than an “English country kitchen” set in Bushwick and featuring an early-80s U.K. new wave aesthetic, plus a modern, gin-and-sherry-centric cocktail menu? No, there probably couldn’t be. But considering the chef, Jessica Wilson, is a veteran of Prune and Goat Town, and the drink list is coming from Natasha (“don’t-call-me-a-mixologist”) David of Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere, we also couldn’t be any more excited. Expected Opening: September, 41 Wilson Avenue, dearbushwick.com
8. Runner and Stone
Peter Endriss, formerly head baker at Per Se Bouchon Bakery, and Chris Pizzulli, former Chef de Cuisine at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Park Slope, are already well known to many Brooklynites for the A-list croissants and baguettes they hawk at Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. Next up for the Runner and Stone duo: a full-scale restaurant-bakery in Gowanus. There will be plenty of those savory pastries—like pecan financiers with cranberry and apple turnovers with caramelized apple butter—for breakfast, plus constantly changing seasonal menus at lunch (duck pastrami on rye with beer mustard) and dinner (housemade pastas like sweet potato gnocchi with maple brown butter and swiss chard). Expected opening: Late September/Early October, 285 Third Avenue, runnerandstone.com
7. Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue
Further cementing Gowanus’ spot as the next great Brooklyn dining hood is this upcoming BBQ restaurant from advertising exec turned pitmaster Bill Fletcher. The large, dramatic space will include an open pit kitchen, where Fletcher will cook meats influenced by a variety of different American BBQ styles, smoking them over maple and red oak, and amping things up with Indian, Vietnamese and Hawaiian spices. In addition to sandwiches and plates, there will also be smaller items like sliders and brisket tacos with chipotle salsa. The full bar will have a focus on bourbon and beer. Expected opening: September/October, 433 Third Avenue, bbqbillys.com
We can’t think of a more stressful way to give a budding marriage an early test run than trying to open a restaurant with your fiancé, but that’s exactly what Brooklyn lovebirds Jon Wallace (a former sous chef at Buttermilk Channel) and Jessica Soule (who has worked front-of-house at Zoe and Chubo in Manhattan) are doing. Fortunately, their contemporary American spot sounds tailor-made to succeed on Clinton Hill’s rapidly developing Fulton Street. Seasonal flatbreads will feature housemade cheeses, charcuterie and runny eggs; the dinner menu has items like oysters with oregano-infused aioli and toasted bread crumbs; and cocktails are crafted from Brooklyn Based favorites like Kings County Bourbon and Dorothy Parker American Gin. Expected opening: September 13, 919 Fulton St., thewallacebrooklyn.com
5. Red Gravy
Brooklyn Heights has been eagerly awaiting this new spot from Saul Bolton (of Saul and The Vanderbilt) for over a year now. The Michelin-starred chef plans to put his signature new Brooklyn spin on Southern Italian fare—think the fanciest spaghetti and meatballs you’ve ever had. Expected opening: November, 151 Atlantic Avenue; redgravynyc.com
Taking over the prime Fort Greene spot formerly home to the underwhelming Aqualis Grill, this new American eatery looks to provide an option for foodies seeking serious fare pre- or post- BAM and Barclays Center. Brooklyn natives Alan Cooper and Stephen Cohen have teamed up with executive chef Kyle McClelland and chef de cuisine Vinson Petrillo—a recent Chopped champion—to create a menu that ranges from amped-up bar fare like Wagyu beef burgers to an eight-course chef’s tasting menu. The refined interior features an open kitchen and a wall lined with reclaimed wood from the Coney Island Boardwalk, and there will be a sidewalk patio as well. Expected opening: September 28, 773 Fulton Street, prospectbk.com
3. Nightingale 9
Chef Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond of Carroll Gardens’ Seersucker and Smith Canteen will bring the neighborhood a third spot later this year. This time, they’re moving away from southern comfort fare—far away. Chef Newton spent the summer in Vietnam, researching recipes for Nightingale 9, which will bring the duo’s local, seasonal philosophy to Vietnamese cuisine. Expected opening: December 12, 345 Smith Street, nightingale9.com
If there’s one thing New Yorkers don’t generally get on board with, it’s people from California telling us how to make pizza. But we might make an exception for Iron Chef contestant Elizabeth Falkner, who recently closed down her San Francisco pastry shop to move east and try her hand at a different kind of pie. Falkner recently won the World Pizza Championship in Naples, and her new pizzeria will take over the historic Boerum Hill storefront formerly home to Downtown Atlantic. Expected Opening: September, 364 Atlantic Avenue, krescendobklyn.com
Actually, maybe forget about all these new-fangled Neapolitan pizzas, because one block in DUMBO is bracing for classic New York pizza battle of epic proportions. The legendary Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge moved down the street earlier this year following a landlord dispute, causing local pizza fanatics to speculate wildly about who would take over the coal-fired oven filling their old space. (Environmental regulations mean new restaurants can’t add coal ovens, but those operating in spaces with existing ones can keep them.) The answer couldn’t have been more tailor-made for blog posts than Patsy and Carol Grimaldi themselves, who sold their eponymous spot back in 1998. Now the newly moved Grimaldi’s will be going head-to-head with Patsy and Carol’s soon-to-open spot, Juliana’s, named for Patsy’s late mother. No opening date has been announced yet, but the website promises Juliana’s will be ready in 2012, and lays down the gauntlet with the tagline: “the way pizza was meant to be.” We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a waterfront pizza battle by the end of the year. 19 Old Fulton St., julianaspizza.com
Caveat: Opening a restaurant is really freaking difficult, and dates are very subject to change.