Shaking hands with Chris Williams and Jeff Schroeder immediately made me feel not only very un-tan but also very un-rad. The two friends recently moved from California and have opened up Union Surfboards in their new neighborhood, Greenpoint. We met inside their studio that’s just big enough to sand off a board and drink a few beers in the process. The place is dusty, but in a clean beachy sort of way and is by no means a faddy showroom– it’s a real workshop. As we spoke, Williams, despite having a broken hand, would compulsively polish one of the boards propped up on a saw horse.
The guys behind Pearl & Ash are bringing another eatery to the Bowery – right next door at 218 Bowery where R Bar once stood. Though the sign out front hasn’t changed much (it’s still an elegant neon “R,” just a different typeface) Rebelle, which opens tonight for dinner at 5:30, brings some proper swank to the spot where stripper poles once glowed in soft red light. Another testament to the ever upscaling Lower East Side, Rebelle’s 90-seat floor comes complete with an ivory marble bar and chef’s table set against exposed brick and beam. It’s a collaboration with executive chef Daniel Eddy, formerly of Spring in Paris.
We just got word via a press release that Carvel is celebrating the opening of its “newest Lower East Side shoppe” with free ice cream. Exciting, right, Lower East Siders? I mean, the chef-driven flavors at Morganstern’s are alright and all, but nothing tastes quite like big chain ice cream (mmm, tetrasodium pyrophosphate!). There’s just one problem: the shop is at 9 Broadway, which, despite the announcement’s assurances that “Lower East Side guests will also notice digital menu boards,” is not on the Lower East Side. It’s in the Financial District, off of Battery Park, and yet franchisee Eric Chang is quoted as saying, “We hope to serve the Lower East Side for years to come.” Then you might want to move to the Lower East Side, bud. Because your shoppe is in the Financial District.
Except for the case of a fire, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much active interest in a single building as I did on my visit to Industry 1332. I spent one short evening at the brand new, still in-the-works restaurant and bar that sits less than a block from the Halsey stop on the L train, which compared to the Morgan and Jefferson stops, is a sleepy holdout. Throughout my visit I was confronted with several curious passersby who seemed to think the restaurant is a harbinger of something that’s about to start raging in this part of Bushwick with fury equal to a fire.
The group of Pratt alums who opened Pokito were tired of the typical Williamsburg look — “it’s all the re-claimed woods, steel, dark, all the Edison filament bulbs,” said Alex Kleinberg — so they opened a spot on South 4th Street that has a clean, sleek, tile-and-marble dining room where LED lights emitting a rainbow-like glow.
When we last visited the Muse, the Williamsburg circus school that (along with Death By Audio) became another victim of VICE’s southward expansion, they’d just found a new home in an enormous industrial space in the farthest reaches of Bushwick. Angela Buccinni (aka Mama Muse) spoke of the school’s lofty plans to build out the huge space that is more than four times the size of their first location. Things have been quiet over there ever since but Buccinni says that, as of April 1, The Muse has been open for business. “Classes are in full swing,” she said. “I don’t think people understand we’re actually open yet.”
Alter, the mid-scale, vaguely alt Brooklyn fashion boutique, has expanded its lineup to include a vintage store located directly across from its Franklin Avenue flagship location in Greenpoint. “They started out as vintage, but are now getting back into it,” a polished but bubbly shop guy named Lawrence told us. The new storefront offers men’s, women’s, and kid’s vintage clothing.
Hot on the heels of the new Dimes, here’s yet another eatery with a breezy, white-walled California vibe.
All aboard the S.S. Boozy Brunch. After a winter-long hiatus, the bar-on-a-barge known to most as the Frying Pan welcomed back its devotees yesterday with beer, sangria, and a new spring menu.
You may or may not remember that Nitehawk has a downstairs bar. I pretty much had to squeeze my brain as tight as I could to get those memory juices flowing enough to squirt out the tiniest drop of recalling getting a beer there once. And maybe that’s because it used to be about as bland as my date was that night. But Lo-Res has a whole new feel thanks to a new menu, an interior overhaul, and one super cool addition — a constantly streaming selection of rare and weird VHS’s from John Woods’s (the Williamsburg theater’s director of programming and acquisition) epic collection, curated by Kris King (Nitehawk’s blogger and social media manager), and made technically possible by Max Cavanaugh, the tech director and programmer.
So many good things are coming back in April: tonight there’s Louie, Sunday there’s Silicon Valley and – oh yeah, IRL – there’s the Hester Street Fair. The outdoor food-and-fashion bonanza returns to the corner of Hester and Essex Streets on April 25 and they’ve given us the early word on new vendors. This year the fair will be Saturdays only, but to make up for the loss of Sundays they’re promising “a rotation of almost all new food vendors with more spots added to create a Hester Food Court.” Oh, and there’ll be TBA nighttime events, too.
At This Cookbook Store Hosting Guest Chefs, the Vibe Will Be ‘Medieval Sicily Meets Colorful Mid-Century Modern’
On Huron Street just off the Greenpoint G-Train stop, Paige Lipari is meticulously planning a world where she hopes foodies will feel deliciously at home. At Archestratus Books, slated to open late summer/early fall, Lipari will house hundreds of carefully curated cookbooks and host small, ticketed dinner parties with a warm, intimate atmosphere.