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Running a business, big or small, is no easy task in New York. Chef Sandy Dee Hall, who opened Black Tree Sandwich Shop on the Lower East Side with co-owner Macnair Sillick earlier this year, would know. He places a premium on local ingredients for all the sandwiches, not exactly a cost-saving measure. But Hall says living in Crown Heights, where many apartments are still reasonably priced, helps. It's an area that's also seen a growth in restaurants. Hall shares his favorites with us this week.

Berkshire Pork Chop Saltimbocca ($22)

[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

Date Night: Mayfield is a wonderful restaurant to have a delicious and well thought-out meal. It has a nice array of dishes to choose from and I'm always satisfied when I leave. This is a perfect date night restaurant in Crown Heights.

Pizza: Rosco's Pizza is a low-key corner spot that features some of the best classic New York by-the-slice pizza around, not to mention root beer on draft to wash it all down. Rosco's has only been open about a year and a half, but I guarantee you the spot cannot be beat.

Coffee: When it comes to coffee in Crown Heights, Crosby Coffee is by far the best place in the neighborhood. The shop has big windows that let in a lot of light, and the design is very sleek and clean, so I go here and settle in to get some work done for a few hours. Crosby Coffee uses Caffe Vita beans that are roasted on the Lower East Side.

Dominican: Puerto Viejo is hands down one of my favorite restaurants in the 'hood. The staff is very friendly and approachable. I always feel like I'm visiting someone's home for a meal when I eat at Puerto Viejo. The Dominican food is accessible and delicious, with a fantastic price point—don't miss $1 empanadas at happy hour.

Cocktails: The Crown Inn. I go here to grab drinks with friends. Besides having outstanding cocktails, it's just one of those places with a smooth and chill vibe that always brings it.

Beer: If you're looking for a good beer in the neighborhood, head to Washington Commons. They have a wide variety of drafts and a good bottle selection that would keep anyone happy. I like to hang out here when it's warm out; there's a huge outdoor beer garden where I like to kick back with friends.

Breakfast/Diner: I always sit at Neptune Diner with the misses and share a few things here for a quick, no-frills breakfast. We tend to split an egg dish and a pancake dish for a little salty and sweet. Also a solid spot for late-night grub.


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