Dec 3, 2021
One of Brooklyn’s best new bakeries is also a cute little vintage shop
Beyond baked goods, Yardsale Cafe in South Slope makes killer sandwiches
Shawn Peled is a busy man. Which is what you get when you open a little shop on a busy street during a global pandemic that focuses on, not just one, but two, of your lifelong passions. In the case of Peled, the owner, baker, treasure hunter, and all around affable host at the charming Yardsale Cafe, those would be: 1) flea markets and 2) food.
“I’ve always loved the vintage part,” Peled tells Brooklyn Magazine. “My whole life I’ve always gone to flea markets, since I got my first allowance I guess. I grew up in Israel, kind of all over but mostly Jerusalem, and always wanted to do something like this. The first round of ‘inventory’ on the shelves here was all stuff I already had. My personal collections.”
Yardsale has … a lot of things. There’s glassware, dishware, framed photographs and paintings, old license plates, toys, records, random weird items, and, right now, tons of vintage Christmas tree ornaments and general holiday-season decor. It feels spirited and fun, too, rather than dusty and cluttered.
The real reason to come, though, may be Peled’s pastries. And, thankfully, there are a lot of those as well. “I guess I was too scared to open just a vintage store,” he said, “and since I’ve also worked in food my whole life [most recently, GM-type jobs at the Westville mini-chain] I combined the two for Yardsale”
Everything at the bakery counter here is exceptional. There are destination-worthy slabs of babka to be had, both dark chocolate and cinnamon, and an incredible sweet and sticky cinnamon bun, served warm and topped with cream cheese frosting.
The cookies are all wonderful, crisp, chewy, and popping with an array of flavors beyond sugar; the ruby matcha has a lemon glaze; the chocolate and pistachio is lovely, and also vegan. And the fluffy, lemony Basque-style burnt cheesecake is the best slice of cheesecake I’ve had in years.
There are savory options too, for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, including a very good everything croissant, a couple of salads (the fattoush comes loaded with parsley and croutons), and an ingenious “tuna” salad sandwich that’s actually made with mackerel for extra richness, mixed with kewpie mayo, and studded potatoes and olives. It’s absolutely delicious.
There’s a small, pleasant patio out back that’s still comfortable on warmer winter afternoons—a cup of coffee, or hot chocolate, will help in that regard as well—but no indoor seating. For that reason, Yardsale is likely to remain a locals-only spot for the foreseeable.
“I live right near here and the neighborhood is incredible,” says Peled. “The people are incredible, it’s very family oriented, and everybody’s nice. My thing is: customer service always comes first. So we try to give that neighborhood coffee shop vibe to everybody. A little bit of conversation, we try to remember drinks and names, everybody needs to feel welcome. And I think that’s a big part of what Yardsale is about.”
Yardsale is located at 620 Fifth Avenue, between 17th and 18th Streets, and is currently open on Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Saturday andSunday from 9:00 to 5:00 (929-477-0167)
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Community & Commerce
Community & Commerce