Earlier this month, new hotspots Gemelli and The Ledge opened their doors to Bushwick and just in time for the summer. The team behind Sea Wolf, a Bushwick neighborhood favorite, have brought us two new venues that are guaranteed to make your whole Instagram feed jealous.
While the restaurant and bar coexist with each other on Starr Street and Cypress Ave., both venues owned and operated by Brooklyn resident and Hollywood Industry Vet, Dan Cipriani are vastly different in style.
Designed by the renowned Lorraine Kirke, Gemelli is an all-day Mediterranean-Italian restaurant housed in an airy blue room with sleek, Italian-futurist design flourishes. Guests can enjoy a plate of fresh pasta or an apertifi in a room that Kirke hopes will evoke a courtyard or villa in Italy, with mirrors and a living vine wall adding playful touches of Italian futurism. Think vacation on the Amalfi Coast.
“Gemelli is Italian for twins – I have two sets of twins and seven children total,” said Cirpiani when asked about the inspiration behind the family style restaurant with a swanky Mediterranean design. “When I say it’s a family run business, I mean it from the heart. I have a huge crazy family and dinner here is supposed to be like what dinner is like with my family.”
Cipriani, a Marine Corps veteran moved into Bushwick in the late ‘90s after a successful career in the Hollywood film industry. “I moved into the neighborhood over by Roberta’s. I paid $900 a month for rent. I’ve seen the evolution of gentrification and the effects,” said Cipriani.
“I don’t go after Micheline stars or James Beard awards, I go for places that benefit everyone in the neighborhood,” he said. “Not just the gentrifiers.”
Dinner at Gemelli features hearty options like a house-made cacio e pepe pasta, grilled fish of the day, and a spice rubbed T-bone steak. Designed by studio FIRST THIRD, a horseshoe-shaped bar is the centerpiece of the Mediterranean inspired eatery, where diners can enjoy shareable Italian classics like fresh Fritto Misto alongside baguettes stuffed with sausage and peppers or grilled vegetable sandwiches.
The layout includes an outdoor area where guests can also enjoy summery cocktails, like the Kool Keith, a mix of Lilet, blueberry puree, and Prosecco; or a spicy Fire Bird, which combines Tanteo jalapeno tequila with Mezcal, Campari, lime, cinnamon syrup, and pineapple.
OPEN EVERYDAY | 11:00 AM – MIDNIGHT
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Of course, summer wouldn’t be the same without the commencement of Brooklyn rooftop season and Cipriani proves that you don’t have to go west to be California dreamin’. In fact, all you have to do is head around the corner to The Ledge for evening drinks and small plates with a view.
The ‘70s California swinger-inspired lounge bar features a bold pink interior and offers one of the few rooftop options in the area, open year-round thanks to a retractable roof. The Ledge aims to keep things light with both its design and a minimalist, coastal vibe.
“We’re going for a ‘70s, California style feel,” said Cipriani. “The design is supposed to be bright and fun, but also a little silly. I picture it as the go-to alfresco haunt for this classic sort of West Coast character from that era. Think a suntanned, endlessly social swinger.”
So how does one get in? A lit neon sign on Starr Street signals that The Ledge is open: just ring the bell next to the door to get buzzed into what promises to be an always happening house party.
Keeping up with the Cali vibes, many of the cocktails at The Ledge are mixed with fresh fruit and vegetable juices along with other healthy ingredients. The monochromatic design may look different than other neighborhood haunts, but the drink menu is a serious affair. “At its core, The Ledge is fancy cocktails without the snobbery,” said Cipriani. “The time for sipping cocktails in a dark, church-like bar is over.”
At The Ledge, guests can enjoy the refreshing twist that watermelon and aloe liquor give to the standard gin and tonic. And day drinkers and brunchers alike will love the Cucumber Gimlet, a refreshing mix of cucumber-infused Vodka, with lime, and fluffed egg white atop.
Italian-inspired snacks like Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes or a group-friendly charcuterie board are also available to complement the drinks. But there is a heartier path to take, with classic sandwich options like prosciutto with tomatoes, basil and burrata, and spicy sopressata paired with parmesan, arugula, and hot pepper jam.
“People need a reason to come out now, it’s not good enough to be just a bar or a restaurant anymore, you have to give something really special,” he added about his new venues.
“Gemelli and The Ledge are high design but at the heart, they’re still family run. They’re what I always aim to create, which is true neighborhood community restaurants.”
M-W | 4:00 PM – MIDNIGHT
TH-F | 4:00 PM – 2 AM
SATURDAY | 11:00 AM – 2 AM
SUNDAY | 11:00 AM – MIDNIGHT
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All images courtesy of Jillian Pedrani (Lion & Lamb).
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