All photos by Scott Lynch
Jan 17, 2022
Stowaway brings low country cuisine to new heights in Greenpoint
The new all-day cafe is loaded with authentic Southern favorites
Clark Riley, born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, loves living in Greenpoint. “It was the classic story of a boy following a girl,” he says about how he wound up here, “and we fell in love with the neighborhood instantly. We’ve lived here seven years now, and I’m a Greenpointer through and through.” The only thing missing, Riley says, was “a place for Southerners like me to get the things we grew up eating.”
Fortunately for said Southerners (and the rest of us), Riley is a chef by trade, and what started as an idle longing while working at Littleneck Outpost turned into what he calls a “very, very challenging pandemic project”: a yearlong gut renovation of the former fried-pizza spot Adelina on Greenpoint Avenue that, this past Thanksgiving, begat Stowaway, an all-day cafe specializing in all sorts of low country delights.
The menu here is anchored by Riley’s buttermilk biscuits, which are baked each morning and come filled with breakfast-y stuff like eggs, cheese, house-smoked bacon, housemade sausage, or smothered in mushroom gravy. The star at Stowaway, though, is Riley’s fried chicken biscuit, featuring a pair of plump, crisp, and juicy thighs topped with sweet and spicy peppers and an insane neon yellow “bread and butter aioli.” This is a destination-worthy sandwich.
You can also get that fried chicken on one of three egg-based platters (pancakes, hash browns, and hanger steak make appearances on the meny, too), and there are several other sandwiches available as well, including a homemade roast beef number, a vegetarian roasted sweet potato concoction, and a good shrimp roll stuffed with Riley’s lively shrimp salad.
Hearty small plates come laden with pimento cheese toast, or heavily-seasoned “low country rice,” or fried okra. There’s a full coffee program here, and Stowaway also has a liquor license if you want a more boozy brunch. Riley plans on opening for dinner sometime in the spring.
The room itself is designed by the Brooklyn-based outfit Home Studios, and there’s a lot of drama in the decor. “Stowaway is the lived-in space of a clandestine traveler, someone who’s collected things over time, and you see all their travels and their influence reflected in the menu and the space,” he says. “The idea is there’s a stowaway pulling the strings here and that I am just kind of the caretaker.”
Be that as it may, Stowaway has the feel of a friendly local hang, where you can eat a lot or a little, have a drink (caffeinated or otherwise), and work or chat or chill. “I wanted to draw from who I am and where I come from and give the neighborhood a contribution, something that I saw was fitting,” says Riley. “We hope to serve the neighbors well. We want to be a positive part of Greenpoint. A real local is at the helm here and has the best intentions for the place, so come check us out.”
Stowaway is located at 159 Greenpoint Avenue, across from the entrance to Leonard Street, and is currently open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily (917-612-3260).
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