Amid an ongoing pandemic, restaurants and bars are still opening around Bushwick and the surrounding neighborhoods. Here’s a report on some of the latest bar and restaurant openings that have come to our attention.

Do you have a suggestion for an opening we’ve missed? Let me know at [email protected].


Los Mariachis

If you’re in search for a fresh taqueria in Ridgewood, head over to Seneca Avenue, where the colorfully named Los Mariachis has recently taken over an ever-changing corner that, in the past decade, has been home to a variety of different taquerias, a tattoo parlor called Inkzotic and a morning joint called Breakfast On The Run.

The latest resident is a small, family-run operation, rich in the olfactory sensations of a decade of movement and change. One shouldn’t be deterred by the lack of a menu or capacity to accept credit cards. Instead, take these as ingredients for a culinary adventure. 

Los Mariachis is located at 602 Seneca Ave. and is open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Reach Los Mariachis at (718) 366-2795.

Los Mariachis Ridgewood
The latest taqueria on Seneca Avenue takes over a familiar spot.

Flo’s Hot Chicken

There are chicken sandwiches and then there are hot chicken sandwiches, which is a type of chicken sandwich that traces its culinary origins to an 80-year-old restaurant in Nashville. It is through this long near-century of cultural appropriation that the words “Nashville Hot Chicken” appear in bright font on Wyckoff Avenue, an idea dreamt up by a marketing company that labels the project a “chef-driven quick service concept.”

The chef at Flo’s is Benjamin Metzger, who says launching a hot chicken-themed restaurant turned out to be a great way for him to get familiar with what hot chicken is. Also on the menu: fried pickles and – somewhat innovatively – mac and cheese-filled bites. 

Flo’s Hot Chicken is open seven days a week at 126 Wyckoff Ave. from 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Place an order by calling (718) 483-9216.

Flo’s Hot Chicken focuses on a variety of chicken sandwich that traces its origins to Nashville.
Flo's Hot Chicken

Mano’s Pizzeria

I was disheartened to discover that Martinello’s had shuttered earlier this year, an event commemorated by an apologetic cardboard sign taped onto the corner pizzeria’s indefinitely closed grills. Fortunately, the longtime slice shop spot has already been outfitted with a new occupant who comes complete with a name that sounds kind of like the last one. (Mano’s is a nod to the name of its owner, Nicholas Manopella.)

But the pies at Mano’s are steadily gaining recognition on their own – just ask some of the energetic commenters on r/pizza, who have noted them to be both “good looking” and “a thing of beauty.” Check out the “Fulgieri” and the locally-named “Manopella,” a thin-crust delight loaded with vodka sauce, chicken cutlets and pecorino Romano. 

Mano’s Pizzeria is located at 62-98 Forest Ave. Keep up with its hours and menu on Instagram

The Ridgewood pizzeria Mano’s is the latest spot to catch a fancy slice.

LP Pizzeria

Those in search of a new slice shop on the other side of Bushwick can make do at the LP Pizzeria, which popped up recently at the site of the now-closed Big Belly Deli, whose illustrative name remains faded into the fabric that hangs on the unchanged awning.

On the bare-bones menu offered inside the crammed former deli, you can pick up slices of cheese for $2.75, pepperoni for $3.50 and more elaborate slices for $4 a pop, which include rich, brown eggplant-adorned “vegetable” slices. A plate of baked ziti will set you back $8, plus two more if you want meatballs or sausage. What cannot be compared, however, is the stupendous view across the street of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran German Church, a brick steeple-tipped tower that dates to 1868. In more recent times, it’s become a luxury condo

LP Pizzeria is located at 2 Stanwix Street and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The more bare-bones LP Pizzeria in Bushwick deals in cheese slices across the street from St. Mark’s Evangelical.

Ornithology Jazz Club

Sometime ago, an editor asked me to put together a list of amateur jazz clubs in Bushwick, and on the top of that list was the Bodeguita, where the jazz only kept swinging amid the ongoing pandemic. Well, the Bodeguita is no more. Now, it’s the Ornithology Jazz Club. The movement around in paperwork has put the spot in the hands of the same crew that boasted of opening the Fat Cat in the West Village a few decades ago, a club that gained some interesting renown in those years as Daniel Radcliffe’s favorite place to play ping pong in the city. The main changes they’re bringing to Bushwick? An all-vegan menu. Says Mitchell Borden: “Animals are incredible, sentient beings and they have souls. I don’t deserve to kill anything.”

The Ornithology Jazz Club is located at 6 Suydam St. Keep up with its hours, menu and grooving players on Instagram

The Joe Magnarelli Trio playing at Ornithology‘s Opening Gala. Image from the Ornithology’s Instagram account.

Bonnie’s Cantonese Restaurant

People are certainly excited about Calvin Eng, the former top-chef at Win Son, landing his latest venture, this time a few blocks closer to Williamsburg. According to the food blog Eater, Eng’s fans have avidly “followed the chef from borough to borough.”

(Eater also reported that Win Son had a big shake up last year when one of its co-founders, Trigg Brown, was accused of throwing around “a cleaver, food items and, in one instance, a bell,” at various lower-ranked employees.) Unlike any of the other restaurants or popups that Eng has been involved in, this one is named after his mother: “everything i know about cantonese food i learned from her,” Eng writes on his website, in careful, lowercase font. On his menu, you can catch a cha siu-glazed take on the McRib that Vice wrote about and that goes for $25 a plate. 

Bonnie’s Cantonese Restaurant is located at 398 Manhattan Ave. Keep up with its menu and hours on Instagram

Calvin Eng prepares versions of his cha siu-glazed take on the McRib for takeout at his latest restaurant, Bonnie’s. Image from Bonnie’s Instagram account.

A-Un

Another spot with a notable pedigree is A-Un, a sake bar that suddenly popped up this month near the corner of Knickerbocker Avenue and Flushing Avenue, incidentally at the same location as a Japanese restaurant called Omakase Ajihei that shuttered to little fanfare a few months ago. Before sake sommelier Toshi Koizumi opened up shop at A-Un, his work could have been found on the menus at Wasan, a Japanese restaurant that had locations in the East Village and Park Slope and which he operated along with Kakusaburo Sakurai, a chef formerly of Inagiku at the Waldorf Astoria. Koizumi tells me that Sakurai is on his way to set up shop here – some issue with a visa is holding him back for now. But, until then, Koizumi is tending bar at the spot.

Among the sakes he’s selected are a selection of bottles from Kato Sake Works, a nearby sake distillery that opened in 2019. Small glasses of these cost between $5 and $9 and there’s also a selection of Japanese beers. Don’t skip the snacks either: Koizumi’s thick black plates of ​​hotate – a tough-as-licorice take on scallops – pair perfectly with almost anything and cost just $4. 

A-Un is located at 156 Knickerbocker Ave. and is open Monday through Saturday, from 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Catch more details on A-Un‘s website

A-Un is among the only bars in Bushwick dedicated entirely to sake.

Above Ground

Adjoined to the Myrtle Avenue Vietnamese restaurant Little Mo, the new coffee shop Above Ground takes the place of Baby Skips. The biggest change, however, has been visual. Linh Nguyen – who splits his time between the newly opened Above Ground and his other coffee shop on Myrtle Avenue, Mixtape –  hired local illustrator Adrian Sonni to gussy up some large, ​​Crayola-bright murals to announce the colorful change in guard behind the roasting machines. Large, surreal cartoons that play with form, these take the place of the photo-realistic graffiti sketches by the Brazilian street artist Valdi-Valdi that had been there before. The coffee is great too and, on some days, you can catch a soppressata breakfast sandwich for $2.50. 

Above Ground is located at 1158 Myrtle Ave. and is open seven days of the week, but closes at 4 p.m.  

When the two baristas behind Bushwick’s Mixtape launched a new coffee shop next to Little Mo, they hired Adrian Sonni to put up a new mural.

Shaking Crab

For this small Newton, Massachusetts-based seafood franchise, Williamsburg begins on Flushing Avenue. This is where the brand has opened its “Williamsburg” location, part of a larger push into the city that includes soon-to-be opened locations in Staten Island and the Bronx. (A “Brooklyn” location already opened a while ago in Park Slope. Somewhat confusingly, Shaking Crab also has a longstanding “Flushing” location that is in Queens.) What the company brings to the neighborhood are bags of mussels, lobster tail, shrimp and snow crab that come shaken up with a blend of spices –  the result of “experimenting with the sauce, testing different amounts of garlic, types of butter, and of course, the ratio of the Cajun spice mix,” Shaking Crab explains. While the restaurant presumably waits for a liquor license, the location also offers a variety of “mocktails,” which include an $8 pineapple cobbler and $5 Shirley temple. 

The latest Shaking Crab is located at 1045 Flushing Ave., keep up with its hours and menu on its website.

At the Shaking Crab, you can catch seafood by the bag.

Onderdonk Cafe

Deep down Onderdonk Avenue, past Rolo’s and past, even, the recently-shuttered burger joint Onderdonk & Sons, you will find one of the neighborhood’s best egg and cheese sandwiches. It’s made of a pineapple-colored glob of egg that’s topped with cut up bits of pickled red onion and a delicate, mustard-mayo spread, sandwiched between two cheese buns that are made behind the counter at the recently-opened Onderdonk Cafe, where the sandwich costs $8. A quiet storefront that brings to mind a less pretentious take on what Porcelain has been trying to do for the past three years, the cafe also serves hot or iced cups of bajigur, a kind of Indonesian coffee that’s flavored with pandan leaves, ginger, sugar and “a splash of milk.” 

The Onderdonk Cafe is located at 353 Onderdonk Ave. and is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

While the recently-opened Onderdonk Cafe is quite a ways down Onderdonk Avenue, it boasts of one of the best new egg and cheese sandwiches in town.

All photos: Andrew Karpan. (unless otherwise stated)

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