May 2018 Editor’s Note: since we first published this story, in July 2017, dining options on the DUMBO waterfront have expanded even further. See below for exciting updates to our original list.
While Brooklyn Bridge Park has slowly transformed into a waterfront oasis over the years, the one thing that hasn’t quite kept up is the food.
Until recently, visitors to the park had only a few options: dish out for dinner at River Café, brave the lines at Grimaldi’s or try to snag a picnic table at Fornino. With the opening of a luxury hotel and the Empire Stores complex, however, Brooklyn Bridge Park is now one of the borough’s emerging neighborhoods for dining. Here, where to eat and what to order at the park’s most exciting new spots.
55 Water St.
The first public restaurant in New York from the Soho House & Co. team, Cecconi’s debuted in June 2017 on the ground floor of Empire Stores, bringing with it modern Italian fare by chef Riccardo Bilotta (Lambs Club, A Voce Columbus Circle). Indoors, guests dine amid exposed brick, arched windows and glittering chandeliers, while, outdoors, they enjoy breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan. Start your meal here with a few cicchetti (Venetian small plates) and hamachi crudo, followed by the spaghetti with lobster, prime rib-eye or porchetta pizza, cooked in the wood-fired oven behind the bar.
53-83 Water St.
VHH Foods, which also opened in June 2017 in Empire Stores, is a spinoff of popular neighborhood spot Vinegar Hill House. Inspired by places like San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, the all-day café and restaurant offers counter service for breakfast and lunch, and full, sit-down dinners with views of the Dumbo waterfront. Come in the morning for a pastry and Mai Tai iced latte, or grab a picnic lunch of Meat Hook hot dogs and eat in the park. Evening brings seasonal vegetables, meats by the pound and family meals like the whole smoked chicken with pull-apart rolls.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
60 Furman St.
Further down the park, the swanky 1 Hotel houses a multitude of dining options. On the ground floor, Neighbors is a “picnic-fare café” with smoothies, pastries, salads, sandwiches and Brooklyn-made goods like The Salty Road taffy. Upstairs, the 4,000-square-foot 1 Rooftop boasts expansive views, handcrafted cocktails, and seasonal bites like lobster rolls and backyard burgers. Wednesday through Sunday, guests can also visit Brooklyn Heights Social Club for cocktails and small bites while surrounded by a garden and the city skyline. The Osprey, a signature restaurant from Matt Abramcyk (The Beatrice Inn), Eddie Bilowich (1 Oak) and chef Michael Oliver (Noho Hospitality) brings “market-driven comfort food” to the table every meal of the day: they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (brunch and dinner service on weekends).
334 Furman St.
Pilot, another boat-based bar from the Grand Banks team, arrived at Pier 6 last summer. Housed on a historic, 140-foot racing schooner, it offers New Orleans–themed fare like oysters and soft-shell crab po’boys, as well as seasonal cocktails like the Spirit Animal with Aperol, coconut and strawberries.
SUGARCANE raw bar grill
55 Water St.
Already popular in Las Vegas and Miami, SUGARCANE opened to great fanfare in DUMBO last August, offering globally inspired small plates from a raw bar, open-fire grill and traditional kitchen, just steps from Jane’s Carousel. Inside, the space is sleek, sexy and ample—perfect for gatherings of all types and sizes. Outside, enjoy gorgeous views of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the city skyline paired with the Local Fluke Ceviche and a Frogroni—a frozen negroni.
Smile to Go
49 Water St.
Located in the rear of the Shinola store, Smile to Go offers a rotating selection of healthy, Mediterranean-inspired fare, plus baked goods from The Smile’s pastry chef Rosanne Smith. The Market Items menu rotates daily.
1 John St.
Celestine is the newest restaurant to open on the DUMBO waterfront. Since its fall 2017 debut, it’s made a name for its creative and committed interpretation of “eastern Mediterranean” cuisine, which is influenced by flavors from Northern Africa, the Mediterranean coastline and the Middle East. Must try menu items include the Moroccan Doughnuts (brunch), the Za’atar Fried Chicken Sandwich (lunch), and the Chermoula Rubbed Branzino (dinner). Plus there’s a daily Mezze Hour between lunch and dinner, and kombucha on tap.