BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new cafe on Tompkins Avenue is serving up homestyle baked goods, sandwiches, and meals, along with a new space for neighbors to kick back and feel at home.
Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen opened Saturday at 413 Tompkins Ave. between Hancock and Halsey streets in Bed-Stuy, where it occupies a cheerful storefront with indoor seating and a backyard with picnic tables.
The cafe’s menu includes a slightly fancier take on bodega specials like the bacon, egg, and cheese, while also offering healthier fare for vegetarians and vegans including grain bowls, salads, matcha teas, beetroot lattes, and juices.
Owner Myriam Nicolas said she is looking to give neighbors a wide range of options to start their day off, for lunch, or an afternoon snack.
“I didn't want it to be the run-of-the-mill coffee shop, although we do have your standard coffee shop drinks,” she said. “I wanted to have a comfortable, down-home menu but with a healthy spin to it. You’ll see fruit bowls, quinoa bowls instead of oatmeal, and vegan pulled pork, but if you just want eggs with lots of cheese, butter, and bacon, we have that too.”
Brown Butter is an expansion of Brooklyn Baby Cakes, a bakery on Nostrand Avenue opened six years ago by Nicolas, a longtime Bed-Stuy resident and mom of three whose unlikely career in baking began years ago when she was nine months pregnant and decided to satisfy a craving for cake by making one herself.
The hobby turned into a home-based business, and before long she had left behind her telecommunications engineering job to bring her baking to the masses.
Now, she’s looking to expand her horizons. While Brooklyn Baby Cakes is a walk-in, take-out kind of spot, she’s hoping to offer a more laid back, full-service hangout spot with Brown Butter, which has significantly more room to kick back with friends or eat a breakfast bowl while checking your emails in the morning, she said.
The cafe is currently open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but she’s in the process of applying for a beer and wine liquor license, and hopes to expand her hours to be open until midnight in order to give neighbors a place to hang out after work and later.
“It will be cafe by day and dessert bar by night,” she said. “The neighborhood can always use another place to eat, chill, and feel comfortable. I live in the neighborhood, and I’m always looking for new places.”
The new location currently has four employees, all of whom live in or near Bed-Stuy, according to Nicolas, who said she’s also working on bringing in interns through local nonprofits in order to give back to the community.
“I wanna see my neighborhood thrive,” she said.