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Foodie Destination: Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn

Straight from the outer boroughs
by Sarah Mogin

Brownstones in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn--via Wikipedia

There are two stages of New York City neighborhood enlightenment:

Stage 1: Your neighborhood evolves beyond the pizza, Chinese, and bodega fare standard to nearly every New York zip code.

Stage 2: Other people – people from outside of your neighborhood — take notice of this phenomenon, and begin frequenting your hood on a regular basis.

Bedford Avenue’s Stage 2 Renaissance in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn is currently in progress.

Marking the west (“Bed”) side of Bed-Stuy, Bedford Avenue is Brooklyn’s longest street at 10.2 miles. It starts in Sheepshead Bay and stretches north all the way up to Williamsburg.  News of a Bedford Renaissance would elicit a resounding “duh” since the cool bars, restaurants, stores, and salons of that swath of Bedford are already well established.

Bed-Stuy’s Bedford Avenue, however, is rapidly becoming a hot new Brooklyn destination, and there’s no “duh” about it. I’m talking, specifically, about the stretch between Lafayette and Monroe Avenues. These several blocks have, in recent years, welcomed a range of exciting eateries, and the outside world is finally catching on.

Favorite spots include:

Do or Dine - 1108 Bedford Ave
Do or Dine is so hip that you sort of have to know it to find it; outside, it still sports the “B’s West Indian Food” awning of its predecessor. Piloted by Food Network star Justin Warner, the restaurant offers tasty New American cuisine that attracts diners from other parts of NYC.

Do or Dine – So hip you could walk right past it. --credit 

SUD vino & cucina - 1102 Bedford Ave
A couple of doors down from Do or Dine, SUD serves up rustic Southern Italian in a cozy atmosphere with a backyard garden. Diners love the simple, seasonal menu and curated wine list, which is also priced affordably. Plus, the interior d├ęcor features work by local artists.

SCRATCHbread – 1069 Bedford Ave
SCRATCHbread serves the carby needs of area restaurants and coffee shops, but in recent years SCRATCH’s Bed-Stuy location has emerged as an outlet not for businesses, but for consumers. Stop by for a yummy fresh loaf along with tastings and classes.

Their motto is “You scratch my bread, I’ll scratch yours” – credit 

Metropolitan Citymarket – 1142 Bedford Avenue
Even in Manhattan, it can be hard to find a supermarket you trust without trekking to Fairway and the like. Metropolitan Citymarket solves the supermarket deficit in Bed-Stuy with healthy, organic options akin to a baby Whole Foods but without the hefty prices. Good beer selection too!

Black Swan - 1048 Bedford Avenuebed
Not new, but definitely improved, Black Swan has gone from a vaguely British bar and restaurant to a definitively British one. Whether you want to watch soccer over the weekend or indulge in unlimited mussels on Tuesdays, Black Swan is the place to be. You can even buy British snacks and candies!

These are just a few of the choice spots along Bed-Stuy’s Bedford Avenue — which, I should note, is not the same as Bed-Stuy proper. Bed-Stuy has a reputation for being seedy for a reason, and I wouldn’t recommend straying east of Nostrand Avenue or significantly south of Monroe Avenue, particularly at night. Bedford Avenue has brought a lot of great businesses to the area, but its influence remains mostly limited to the west edge of the neighborhood. Only time will tell if that edge creeps in the opposite direction.

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