High-End Restaurateurs Aim to Upgrade Windsor Terrace Dining Options
WINDSOR TERRACE — The Brooklyn neighborhood where the corner bar serves beer in Styrofoam cups will soon be home to the kind of restaurant that calls its drinks menu a "cocktail program."
Three new restaurants opening this spring will bring buzzword concepts like farm-to-table cooking, high-end coffee and "vegetable-forward" menus to Windsor Terrace, an old-fashioned area known for unpretentious charm.
The neighborhood's small-town feel has attracted plenty of homebuyers, but until now foodies have been forced to eat out elsewhere, said Bob Lenartz, who hopes to capitalize on the untapped restaurant market with a new bistro called Krupa Grocery at 231 Prospect Park West.
"There’s a lot of pent-up demand," Lenartz said. "There’s a lot of people that are just dying for food places to open up... They're biting at the bit for a quality place."
Lenartz co-owns the store Windsor Wine Merchants, which is inside a former candy shop on the neighborhood's main strip. With its old-school Italian butcher, locals' bar Farrell's (home of the foam cup beer) and century-old Holy Name of Jesus church, the street could be the set of a movie about 1950s America.
Krupa Grocery will add a more sophisticated vibe to the neighborhood, Lenartz said. The bistro will serve American food cooked by an Italian chef. The menu will highlight seasonal farmers market ingredients and local beers and wines.
Krupa Grocery will be open for coffee and breakfast starting early in the morning, and serve lunch and dinner as well. Lenartz plans to keep the kitchen running until about 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to lure local residents who've been out for the evening in Manhattan and want to grab something to eat when they come home.
The bistro is moving into the space formerly occupied by a mom-and-pop newsstand, also called Krupa Grocery, which was run by a family that still owns the building. Lenartz and his partners hired a professional designer to give the restaurant "grown-up" ambiance. Reclaimed lumber is being used to create tables, and a stamped tin ceiling has been repurposed to decorate the bar.
“We're shooting very high," Lenartz said. "Even though Windsor Terrace doesn't have a lot to choose from, we're pretending we're in Manhattan. We're trying to make a place that's Manhattan in quality."
The eatery will be open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily and will serve breakfast and light lunch and brunch fare, said owner Alexander Hall. The all-organic, mostly local menu is still in draft form, but potential dishes include a salmon and quinoa salad with spinach, and a slow-braised lamb sandwich with feta cheese, roasted peppers and arugula.
At Brunswick, customers will sip Counter Culture coffee and eat freshly baked pastries from Hall's Bluebird Coffee Shop in the East Village. The space will have a "mid-century modern" look, with custom-made light fixtures, exposed brick walls and an open kitchen. Most of the seating will be on an enclosed backyard patio that can seat 45 people.
"[Windsor Terrace] is a great neighborhood and I’ve always been surprised with the lack of offerings," Hall said.
"It's a little old-fashioned in a way, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. There's bagels, there's pizza... It's 1980s and '90s style food. We’re hoping we can bring high-quality food and high-quality service."
Down the block and around the corner a restaurant called Brooklyn Proper is in the works at 471 16th Street, just off Prospect Park West.
The co-owners are Julian Mohamed, who owns Dear Bushwick, and Ginger Warburton, a bartender who's worked at The Dutch, Public, and Isa. Chef Caitlin Whitbeck trained at Berkeley's legendary Chez Panisse, and has worked at the New York restaurants Buvette and Gottino.
The restaurant's decor is meant to be an homage to the history of Windsor Terrace and Brooklyn, Warburton said. One wall is papered with a vintage print by Arts and Crafts designer William Morris.
With the opening date still up in the air, Warburton and Mohamed didn't want to reveal too much about Brooklyn Proper, but they said it will feature a "vegetable-forward," "reasonably-priced" menu of mostly small plates and snacks, with a couple of entrees.
Warburton will draw on her bartending background and said she's excited to bring drinks like locally-made hard cider and house-made vermouth to Windsor Terrace.
"There's this opportunity for us to introduce mixology-crafted cocktails to the neighborhood, which is exciting, but we don’t want to come across as patronizing or condescending," Mohamed said. "At a very basic level, we're just offering another dining and drinking option."