Known mainly for its warehouses-turned-artist-lofts and quirky street art, Bushwick may not seem like New York City’s next foodie destination…but you’d be surprised. As one of my favorite spots to wander around in the city, I’ve discovered so many great places to grab a sip and a bite, covering fancy brunches, cute cafes, and of course, cuisine native to the cultures of the area. All the while, new places are constantly cropping up. It’s easy to miss these gems if you don’t know where to look, so here’s a little guide of my top Bushwick picks for food and drink – enjoy!
Chimu Express [180 Irving Avenue] Amidst the endless sea of Latin restaurants in the area, this Peruvian restaurant the one to pick. Tucked away off of Irving on Stanhope, as soon as you walk through the door you’re greeted by rows upon rows of slowly rotating, crispy-skinned and drool-worthy rotisserie chicken, which is always a good sign. It’s roughly $8 for the lunch special which consists of soup (tomatillo chicken and rice) or salad plus an entree, and you can’t turn down that chicken if it’s in view, so make sure you get that – I’d recommend the chicken with fried rice, pictured here.
Northeast Kingdom [18 Wyckoff Avenue] A Couch Sessions brunch favorite, because any place that serves peanut butter stuffed French toast and a killer Bloody Mary tops the list. You definitely won’t feel like you’re in Bushwick here, more like a cabin in the woods – but the food is so good you’ll barely even think about your surroundings. The full writeup is here – make sure you go for brunch, and make sure you get there early.
Arepera Guacuco [44 Irving Avenue] As a contender for the best arepas in all of New York City, I’ve already sung my praises on this one, but won’t hesitate to do it again. Located right off of Maria Hernandez Park, the arepas are filling, delicious, and, well, the rest of it is already written here. I said this already but I have to say it again: don’t forget to order the cocada milkshake.
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos [271 Starr Street] Practically a hole in the wall (and easily mistaken for a garage), this little Mexican eatery doubles as a tortilla factory. You can’t get any fresher than tortillas right off the press, so there’s the winner right there. I’m a firm advocate for authentic, no-frills Mexican food, and you get exactly that along with the atmosphere, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Write your order on a notecard (I’d go for steak or pork tacos or tostadas), hand it to the lady at the counter, wait your turn, pull up a plastic folding chair, and enjoy. Oh, Anthony Bourdain’s a fan, too.
Swallow / AP Cafe [49 Bogart Street / 420 Troutman Street] So these are actually two different coffee shops, and depending on your choice of atmosphere, either are a hit. If you want to see the epitome of a hipster Brooklyn cafe, then Swallow might be on that list, with its sea of parked laptops and a why-are-you-all-off-on-a-Monday crowd, but what matters here are the drinks. I’m really into the iced chai latte (most places make them way too sweet) – and I’m not a coffee girl but the espresso’s got pretty good reviews. On the flip side, AP Cafe is the brighter, airier, cleaner version, a brand new (just opened this summer) space with great iced coffee, delicious juice, and oh yeah, they have a waterfall inside.
Any Bushwick gems that we left out? Let us know in the comments!