Tucked away near the northernmost corner of Green-Wood Cemetery at the intersection of Windsor Terrace and the South Slope, lies a two-block stretch of 6th Avenue, from 19th to 21st Sts., that has grown up dramatically over the last two years. The village-like hood is now home to a handful of establishments that are flying (surprisingly) under the radar. The little strip is a bit challenging to get to via public transport (the B67 stops at 7th and 20th St., and it’s also accessible via the Prospect Ave and 25th St. stops on the M and R and in walking distance from the Prospect Park and 7th Ave stops on the F and G trains), but it’s an ideal bike ride from many points in Brooklyn — not as far as Coney Island but long enough to deserve delicious reward — and you’ll likely find yourself going back again and again for a low key escape from the rush of busier nabes.
Starting with the neighborhood’s newest addition, Lot 2 was opened earlier this summer by Scott Bridi, an alum of Grammercy Tavern. Bridi’s food emphasizes place, season, and a DIY ethic. The kitchen churns out simple but perfectly executed dishes like olive oil-poached cod with white beans and melted leeks. The space is informal and inviting, the wine menu reasonably priced and geographically diverse, and the recent addition of family-style Sunday Night Suppers on the first Sunday of every month add to the restaurant’s colloquial appeal.
Just across the street, Toby’s Public House serves as a neighborhood hangout and tasty joint for those looking for more than cheap wings with their suds. Toby’s serves up crusty brick-oven pizza, fine Italian-inspired salads and antipasti and desserts like gelato, pannacotta, and tiramisu. The beer section is large and includes Toby’s own $3 ale. Stop by for a sit-down meal or grab and beer and ball game with the locals.
After Toby’s closes up shop, the pub is transformed into the Night Kitchen, where Matthew Tilden crafts SCRATCHbread. If you’re hooked on his addictively buttery semi-sweet scones or the fennel seed and parmesean-crusted loaf (or tried the pesto-studded foccacia during dinner at Toby’s and find yourself craving more), wake up before dawn to catch a glimpse of Tilden in his element. Every morning before sunrise the scent of his fantastic South Slope Sour wafts onto the corner of 6th Ave. and 21st St. from Toby’s Public House. The one-man operation keeps Tilden busy maintaining temperature in the brick oven, keeping tabs on the downstairs oven, and kneading away and local shops have taken notice of his talent. SCRATCHbread is available at some of Brooklyn’s best food emporiums, including Get Fresh Market & Table, Blue Apron Foods, and BKLYN Larder. His next project? Ice cream. Look for the label to arrive in the coming months at select locations.
If the heady scent of baking bread piques your appetite, walk over to 19th St. for a stop at Southside Coffee, a sophisticated but cozy neighborhood joint that brews Chicago-based Intelligentsia coffeeand pulls a mean espresso. This place is for serious coffee drinkers only — other than a small shelf of baked goods from Balthazar, there’s no food on the menu. Just a damn fine cup of coffee.