In this part of Bushwick, a bar or restaurant dating back to 2006 qualifies as an old timer. As recently as 2011 (the year nearby DIY venue the Market Hotel was shut down), there were just three places to get a drink in the relatively out-of-the-way area around Myrtle/Broadway: Goodbye Blue Monday, Lone Wolf and an inexplicable, since-shuttered branch of Beauty Bar. For food, there was Little Skip’s (which came in 2010) or there was Seamless.
Since then, Beauty Bar’s space was reworked into upscale bar-cafe Skytown; an absinthe-focused cocktail bar (Bizarre Bar) and a salad and juice spot (The Salad Wheel) opened right across the street from each other on Jefferson; Norbert’s, a vegan-friendly pizza joint, opened up two locations in the area; and Bossa Nova Civic Club triggered New York Times trend pieces seemingly the minute it opened. Silent Barn has also relocated to the area, Secret Project Robot’s owners opened up their own bar on Myrtle (delightfully named Happy Fun Hideaway), and Dillinger’s Cafe started serving up Russian food at the end of 2013. Right next door, a branch of Prospect Heights’ Chuko Ramen is expected to open in the fall.
Of course, change this rapid raises eyebrows (and rents, inevitably). But then, you know, it’s still pretty nice to have places to get food and beer that aren’t a 20-minute walk from your apartment or the deli. After three years of wrangling with its permits, even the Market Hotel is making noise about opening back up, though it’s unclear when, exactly, that’ll be. Whenever it does, it’ll be in a neighborhood drastically different than the one it left behind.
While it’s long been a culinary wasteland, Windsor Terrace has never really needed anyone’s pity. The neighborhood borders Prospect Park, has great public schools, and is a sought-after spot to live for individuals and families alike. But its lack of new restaurants has been deeply felt in the midst of the Brooklyn foodie boom, which is why the arrival of several new restaurants is so welcome. This past spring, Prospect Park West (the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare) has been graced with the addition of Brunswick, from the owner of Prospect Heights’ Sunshine Co. and Milk Bar; Krupa Grocery, from the co-owner of nearby Windsor Wine Merchants; and Brooklyn Proper, from the owner of Dear Bushwick. For Windy T residents, it’s a welcome change
in a neighborhood that once had a paucity of options. Now if only someone would open a grocery store…
Maybe it started with Franklin Park, the beer garden. Or maybe it was the influx of new residents with different tastes, moving east from Park Slope and Prospect Heights. Whatever it was, in the last couple of years Crown Heights—particularly Franklin Avenue and the surrounding streets—has become a dining destination. There’s always been terrific food in the neighborhood, but the new crop of restaurants are emblematic of the foodie culture already raging in other parts of Brooklyn and the city. As such, they’re reflective of the economic and ethnic transformation of Crown Heights. It’s still the best place to go for Caribbean food, but now there’s an abundance of great spots to eat and drink: Mayfield, Cent’Anni, Glady’s, The Wedge Cheese Shop, Silver Rice, Barboncino, and Catfish—try them, one and all, and you’ll be happy you did.