Entertaining

Where to Eat, Drink and Shop in Williamsburg

Written by
Odette Williams
PHOTOGRAPHS BY
Jessica Schramm and Nicole Franzen

Our love for New York runs deep. So deep, in fact, that we've opened a second store in the Big Apple, this time in the borough of Brooklyn. Our Williamsburg shop neighbors some of the best food, drinks and shops in the city. To help accustom ourselves to our new ‘hood, we enlisted the expertise of Odette Williams, a longtime Brooklyn resident and author of Simple Cake. Whether you find yourself nearby our new digs or are planning a visit, here are Odette's must-dos – from pizza and Negronis on tap, to the best french feta in Brooklyn. Cheers!

Best Eats

There is too much great food in Brooklyn – it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the list – so apologies in advance to those I love that I don’t have space to mention. For great Italian food – we are talking Brooklyn after all – Missy Robbins’ Lilia in Williamsburg is required eating. The house-made pasta has even been touted as, "confident and coursing with energy," by The New York Times. Another favorite is Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens. This neighborhood restaurant always feels perfectly cozy. Not far from there is Lucali, the ultimate no-fuss pizza spot. They don’t take reservations so show up before 5:00pm to add your name to the list, then come back that evening with a bottle of wine in tow. 

Marlow and Sons is a long standing Williamsburg modern bodega and cafe by day, raw bar and restaurant by night, that is still one of the best spots in the neighborhood. Similarly The Four Horsemen, which boasts a natural wine bar and restaurant, is consistently great and partially owned by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (the more you know). 

For when hunger strikes earlier in the day, walk over to Greenpoint and grab a coffee and donuts from the old-school Peter Pan Donuts, or head in the other direction towards Navy Yards and visit Russ and Daughters' new location for a classic New York bagel and lox.

Best Drinks

There’s nothing like saddling up to a bar to eat and drink, and luckily there’s no shortage of great places this side of the East River. To escape the cold, The Brooklyn Inn or The Long Island Bar are great places to wait out. For warmer months, the outdoor spaces at The Brooklyn Barge and Pilot (a docked vintage sailboat converted into a bar) make for the perfect summertime respite. Next door to the Four Horsemen is their new project, Daymoves, that functions as a daytime cafe meets natural wine bar – complete with Negronis on tap – perfect for catching up with friends sans wifi. 

Best Shops

For good and hard to find reads, Books Are Magic is a can’t miss independent book store in Cobble Hill. And only a stone’s throw away from the new Parachute store in Williamsburg is Catbird – which carries beautiful and responsibly made jewelry. I also love Bird Brooklyn which has an amazing selection of clothing and fashion pieces from emerging and established independent designers. And for your littles and your home, Acorn and Primary Essentials are great local shops for browsing and buying gifts.

As for the more foodie shops, Sahadi’s is a middle eastern grocer and Brooklyn institution where you can find the best French feta and an abundance of speciality items – perfect for grabbing picnic supplies en route to the park. I also enjoy frequenting Bedford Cheese Shop and Paisanos Butcher Shop.

Best Places to Stay

My place (kidding)! That’s where all our family and friends stay, and I’m so happy having a full house. When I’m traveling I love to find smaller boutique hotels. The Wythe Hotel or William Vale both have great views of Manhattan, good food and are in a great location. If not I love a good hunt on Airbnb where you can feel like local. 

Best Things To Do

Walk. Everywhere. Take a ride on the East River Ferry for fantastic views of the city and bridges. Spend another day walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Chinatown for yum cha. For a more active approach, try a scenic run along the Brooklyn Bridge Park Piers. And for a very Brooklyn experience, grab a Shake Shack burger before catching a Brooklyn Nets game while sinking some beers at Barclay Center. 

Beyond Brooklyn, head into Manhattan and explore the city. We also love going to Upstate New York and Fire Island for our city escapes, which are only a few hours away. 

Best Hidden Gems

I’m crazy about the bread from Caputos Bake Shop. If you get there early in the morning the bread is still warm. There’s also a sweet garden center in Red Hook with lots of great food for a spring weekend outing. 

Thank you, Odette!