DUMBO's a tiny neighborhood with a big reputation for great views of Manhattan, high-tech businesses, art festivals and a handful of foodie destinations such as Jacques Torres chocolate shop. It's a fun corner of Brooklyn to explore. Combine a visit to DUMBO with weekend brunch—find out where to have a bluegrass brunch, an elegant brunch, and a brunch in a family-friendly restaurant where the kids can move around. After brunch, enjoy a day at Brooklyn Bridge Park the scenic waterfront park stretching from DUMB) to Brooklyn Heights. If you're also a breakfast fan, consider starting your day with a breakfast at one of the Brooklyn restaurants.
Edited by Alison Lowenstein
Swanky, with impeccable service, excellent food, stellar Manhattan views, and an upscale crowd, the River Cafe, ranks at the top of Brooklyn's brunch favorites. Consider this one of Brooklyn's best "special occasion" restaurants, perfect for birthdays and anniversaries.
Tip: Men are required to wear a jacket, and if you don't have one on, they'll give you a loaner.
- Price range: $$$$
This local fave is hard to get into, but worth the effort. It's a venue with character, very highly-rated food with a locavore twist, and it's just every so slightly off the beaten track.
Tip: Try to go early on a significantly bad weather day (when other brunchers may laze at home) because it's a tiny restaurant that fills up fast, with good food and a relaxed ambiance—and there's absolutely nothing to do on the block while waiting in line. Or, bring a book, your iPad (there's WIFI in DUMBO) and friends.
- Price range: $$$
Grimaldi's doesn't really "do brunch." What they DO is famously fabulous pizza.
Here's the deal: They serve pizza, pies only, no slices, no reservations, no credit cards, no-nonsense. The menu is concise; you can order a salad, wine or beer, and there's a huge range of pizza toppings from chicken to olives and salami, but this is basically a meal of pizza.
Like Grimaldi's food, the restaurant decor is modest, simple and focused; tables are covered in traditional red-checkered tablecloths.
Grimaldi's success is due both to the excellence of their pizza, and the relentlessness of their marketing.
People go nuts for Grimaldi's pies, which come in either 6 or 8 slice pies— and yes, one person can eat a whole pie.
Expect to wait in line with scores of tourists for whom Grimaldi's is "the" DUMBO destination. Given the lines, Brooklyn residents, who are well aware of other excellent pizzerias in the borough, might find the cost-benefit ratio between the wait and the meal unattractive, depending on how dedicated they are to the specific taste of Grimaldi's.
What's Grimaldi's secret? They boast of "fresh ingredients, handmade mozzarella, ‘secret recipe’ dough and pizza sauce." Even their fresh tomatoes are, apparently, imported from Italy.
One of Brooklyn's several family pizzeria success stories, Grimaldi's today is comprised of a veritable empire of pizzerias with offshoots in Manhattan, Long Island, Queens, plus a few more in Jersey. There are eight locations in Arizona, nine in Texas, four in Florida, Nevada and more coming soon. Meanwhile, fans can even order Grimaldi's tee-shirts and baseball caps.
- Price range: $$
For a great, hectic, noisy, fun Bluegrass brunch, head to Superfine on Sunday from 11 A.M to 3 P.M. Sundays. (Live music usually begins around noon.) There's a free pool table, a bohemian vibe, and the fabulous recycled industrial building itself can't be beaten.
- Price range: $$
Order scrambled eggs with charred kale, tomato, pork sausage at this charming spacious French restaurant on DUMBO's Main Street. The brunch menu includes all the usual favorites from eggs to biscuits. Known for its great staff, this is a staple in DUMBO. It gets busy, so be sure to make reservations.
- Price range $$
This tiny cafe has earned a huge reputation for croissants; NY Magazine rated Almondine's the "Best Croissant in New York City." Grab a table for an excellent cup of coffee and mouthwatering, butter-filled pastries and bread. This tech-savvy shop (which also has a location in Park Slope) offers an order-in service called "room service." Come early, or expect long lines where the people-watching is fun. It's across from legendary chocolatier Jacques Torres in case you need a pre-breakfast sugar fix.
- Price range: $