What do you get when you cross an avant-garde, multi Michelin-starred Swede with a New Nordic movement-founding, philanthropic Dane? A collaborative, Scandinavian-style café with exceptional, unparalleled credentials.
Granted, Fredrik Berselius and Claus Meyer’s forthcoming Greenpoint restaurant, Norman, is only a single, illustrious cog in the awe-inspiring wheel that is A/D/O, a co-working space, think tank and incubator (complete with access to laser cutters and 3-D printers) for aspiring and professional designers. But it’s especially integral to the project’s overarching mission—to transform the 23,000 square foot warehouse into not just an elite haven for artists, but a vital hub for the community at large—offering cultural events, exhibits and a retail shop, yes, but also an inspiring place to hole up with a laptop, surrounded by extraordinary food and drink.
“What these designers do, we do in our restaurants every day,” Berselius said of the duo’s unexpected A/D/O involvement. “Which is try to explore, to push, to take things apart and put them back together again. To create an emotional experience. And to be potentially able to have a dialogue with artists from other mediums about how we can improve down the line—everything from specific dishes to the vessels we serve them in, to how our food goes out into the world and how it comes back—it’s all relevant to how Claus and I think about restaurants, which is that it’s not just about serving a meal in a dining room on any given night.”
A/D/O’s Norman has also provided a perfect opportunity for the pair to finally work together — which despite their longstanding relationship (and the fact that Meyer is a primary investor in Berselius’ Aska), they’ve never actually done until now.
“When this came along, it just felt so natural,” Meyer said, “because I love doing things with other people, and Fredrik’s palate and mine aren’t that different. It’s not like I’m from Nashville and he’s from Greenland. We fancy the same juicy, fresh, vibrant, wholesome and seasonally-changing flavors, as well as having an on-going conversation with our guests.”
As for how that translates to Norman, patrons can expect Meyer’s Brownsville coffee and Scandinavian pastries in the morning (like cinnamon-slicked kanelsnurre, and poppy seed and marzipan-studded tebirkes), as well as pork pate-capped smorgasbrods and heirloom carrot and sea buckthorn salads in the afternoon, followed by dinner service that befits the innovative, design-focused space, although certainly, it will be infinitely more approachable (and at a much lower price point) than either Aska or Agern’s tasting progressions.
“The whole Nordic cuisine movement was built upon trying to engage the community around food. It’s more of a mindset and a way of listening than being some in-control maniac about your restaurant and menu. It’s about being a partner in the marketplace,” Meyer said. “We want to create something that people in Greenpoint need, and would really miss if it were gone. Which is to say, we run our restaurant on behalf of the people, it’s not our given right to be here. So we want to live this thing as if we’re being elected every year. And our long term goal is to be re-elected.”
29 Norman Ave., Greenpoint