John Seymour, one of the co-owners of Sweet Chick, grew up and lived in Manhattan until moving to Williamsburg about 12 years ago—long before the Brooklyn neighborhood became filled with popular restaurants. In that time, Seymour says he's never seen an area of New York transition so quickly. Between all the construction of bigger businesses (there's now a fancy Dunkin Donuts on Bedford) and new residential buildings, he says that Williamsburg offers better restaurant selections than ever before. Here are his favorites in the neighborhood.
Pizza: We just had our staff party at The Gutter and got about 20 pies from Paulie Gee's, which is close enough in Greenpoint. I ate a pie and a half by myself. My staff was really impressed. I've had a few of their pies; they're pretty original. It's a little more interesting than your regular pizza joint. It's fun and you know what you're paying for.
Sandwich: Gotta be the number five from Dépanneur. Grilled with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and fig jam on a baguette. I love to stop in here, get a coffee, and while I wait for my sandwich, I usually check out their great style and architectural magazines. I just love that block, too. I used to live right around the corner.
Falafel: Oasis on Bedford. To me that's a neighborhood staple falafel. It's right by the train station and it's been there since I moved here. It may be the first place I had a falafel. The texture is just right. It's pretty straightforward.
Burger: I like to keep it gangster with Pop's—my original burger spot. There's a burger called the Cholo with guacamole, provolone, and chipotle sauce. It's grass-fed beef and that makes a big difference, plus how you season and cook it. It's also across from Sweet Chick, so it's convenient. I'm also a fan of DuMont. [Note: DuMont is currently closed for renovations.]
Bagel: I live two blocks away from Bagelsmith, and my wife always sends me out for a bag of whole wheat everything bagels when we don't have stuff to cook breakfast for the kids.
Coffee: I buy the old school espresso beans at El Beit. I have them grind the beans for me everyday like clockwork, I make lattes at home for my wife and myself. It's a few doors down from Sweet Chick, so I usually stop in for my afternoon iced latte, too.
Kid-friendly: Weather permitting, we go to Urban Rustic. We get simple sandwiches and sit outside by the park. There's outdoor seating, too, and that's great when you have three kids.
Bakery: Blue Stove on Graham has some really nice pies and other pastries. It's a coffee shop, too, and one year it was the source for my Thanksgiving pie for my mom.
Date spot: We like to try new spots around the neighborhood when we get the odd date night, but we will go to Rye a few times a year. It's a place we can always rely on and we fill comfortable with everything there, from the food and drinks to the atmosphere.
Take out: We often call in our order from Mesa Coyoacan for their camarones al ajillo and al pastor tacos. It travels well.