Brooklyn is a diverse city with many unique restaurants. You can find almost anything you're looking for in Brooklyn from Vietnamese to Tex Mex and much more. To really uncover the Brooklyn food scene, we talked with a couple local experts:
Andrew Hersch, the CEO of NYC based City Lunch Club, a curated lunch subscription service that lets members discover the best lunch options from top-rated New York City restaurants daily.
Jessica Childs, the co-founder of Kombucha Brooklyn, a Mom and Pop company that makes some of the best damn Kombucha ever.
What we wanted to find out from our three experts is simple: what makes the Brooklyn food scene so special?
Brooklyn is a great place for foodies, Andrew tells us. "Less and less you are hearing about people being unwilling to go to Brooklyn. And when you do, they just appear more ignorant than anything. Real estate prices in Manhattan have made it too hard for many restauranteurs and chefs to open there. Brooklyn is much more affordable, which means that amazing chef from your favorite Michelin rated restaurants [in Manhattan] can open their own operation [in Brooklyn], and serve unbelievable food at lower prices."
Many Brooklyn based chefs did get their start over the river in Manhattan. When you factor in outrageous real estate prices, and a crowd that cares far too much about the trends, celebrities, and the newest hottest restaurant, it makes sense that Manhattan can be a hard place to survive.
Chef Jean Adamson of Vinegar Hill House is a shining example of a Manhattan chef that's crossed the river. Vinegar Hill House - which feels like a slightly warped storybook cottage according to Eater.com - is a far cry from Freemans Restaurant in the Bowery. At Vinegar Hill House Jean Adamson serves up a weekly changing menu of ever-so-comforting comfort-chic cuisine including what Andrew Hersch calls "maybe the best pork chop I've ever had."
And it's these kinds of restaurants that are really coming into their own in Brooklyn. "There is really a new type of cuisine that is taking hold that could be called Brooklyn style cuisine," Andrew explains, "Food that is sophisticated, yet simple and fun and casual rather than stuffy - and usually more reasonably priced."
It isn't just the lower real estate prices that make Brooklyn an attractive place to start a business. It's also the city itself.
"Brooklyn is responsible for quite a bit of our mojo," says Jessica Childs of Kombucha Brooklyn. "It's that creative, pioneering spirit we sell with every one of our products." Kombucha Brooklyn started in 2009 by Jessica and Eric Childs who have been successfully positioning themselves as a pioneer in the Kombucha community, and a staple in the Brooklyn gastronomy community. You can walk into over 50 locations throughout NYC and find Kombucha Brooklyn's delicious brews on tap.
Jessica says Brooklyn's food scene is a lot more hard core than Manhattan. "It [Brooklyn's food scene] is made up of every day people with big ideas. And our cohort is a resourceful bunch which lends itself to innovation. That innovative spirit is what makes our kombucha sooo good. We tinkered with the recipe until it was perfect. That's what a lot of the Brooklyn food producers are doing: stealing from history to create something new. And what better place?"
"Then there is the other side of the Brooklyn food scene," says Andrew. "The old, great neighborhood spots that have managed to stick around, unlike a lot of Manhattan spots that often see a deterioration in quality. Many of Brooklyn's old school institutions remain virtually unchanged and still are neighborhood favorites (many still undiscovered by NYC foodies but I'm sure will be soon)."
The food scene is evolving, and Andrew explains that's largely due to places like Brooklyn Fare and Blanca, who both have price points that would not have dared to be in Brooklyn as little as five years ago. Blanca is the single hardest place to get a reservation at in all of NYC, not just Brooklyn. Years ago it would have been unheard of for one of the most desirable restaurants in NYC to in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is unique, and the food scene equally so. Partake in the continual evolution of the Brooklyn food scene, and we promise you won't be disappointed.