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Friday Foodporn: Naidre's

Naidre's Cafe, Bakery, and Espresso Bar, at 384 Seventh Avenue (between 11th and 12th), is a cute little cafe that serves up some of the tastiest, healthiest food in the neighborhood. Breakfast, soups, salads, and sandwiches dominate the menu, but it's the baked goods that really stand out (literally; they're hard to miss in the display case). 

Everything is baked on-premises except for the hard-to-master baked goods like croissants (which are provided by Ceci Cela) and bagels (which come from La Bagel Delight). Coffee is provided by Counter Culture, which has developed quite a following.

There's a large variety of traditional baked goods like cakes, cookies, and muffins, but the selection of vegan items really sets it apart from the pack. Vegan carrot cake, energy bars, and cookies are specialties, and are so good that if nobody told you were vegan you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. 

Naidre's, 384 Seventh Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-965-7585


A Tour of Pharos, Seventh Avenue's Newest Greek Restaurant

It's been long-rumored that a Greek restaurant would be moving into to the bi-level space at 84 Seventh Avenue, between Union and Berkeley, which has been under renovation for years as an attractive new wood and glass storefront was installed. I'd walked by several times and met owner Pete Livanos, from the Greek island of Chios, but he was always tight-lipped about what exactly we could expect. 

Today, though, with the addition of signage to the storefront, he invited me in to take a look around the restaurant, to be called Pharos.

Guests will enter through the side door, which clears the front up for more tables and gives the entryway a bit of a speakeasy vibe. Each floor is expansive, and goes straight through from front to back (the kitchen is in the basement).

On the first floor, a dining area is in the front and a bar/lounge is in the back, with a small patio/smoking area behind that. 

The front room
The back room, with the bar at left
Co-owner Giannis Hutgopoulos (who also owns Basilica in Midtown) said that the upstairs room will be more family-oriented, in order to make sure that the little ones have their own space to run around, should they feel the need.

The avenue-facing side of the second-floor dining room
The second-floor patio, which will be bordered by planters
As for cuisine, Giannis told me that it'll be "traditional Greek, with a modern twist." They plan on soft-opening within a couple weeks.


Top Chef Alum Mark Simmons to Open New Zealand-Inspired Eatery on Union Street

Chef Mark Simmons, who appeared on season 4 of Top Chef and was previously involved with Park Slope restaurants Get Fresh and Melt, will be opening up a restaurant that focuses on traditional New Zealand cuisine in the space most recently occupied by Lucas Fine Foods, at 847 Union Street, between Sixth and Seventh. 

Simmons, who hails from New Zealand and lives in the neighborhood, told me that the eatery, to be called Kiwiana, will be "a comfortable neighborhood restaurant, with prices that aren't too high." He's still fine-tuning the menu, but it will feature lamb and seafood, two of New Zealand's culinary claims to fame. 

He plans on opening the restaurant, his first, in late August or early September. 


Then and Now Thursday: St Francis Xavier

Sixth Avenue between Carroll and President is one of the prettiest in all of Brooklyn. Brownstones and small apartment buildings line the west side, and the east is completely taken up by the Church of St. Francis Xavier, its grounds, and its rectory. Constructed in 1904, the church and rectory are still in pristine shape, and are frequently used in TV and film shoots as stand-ins for Old New York (HBO's Boardwalk Empire most notably featured it last year). 

I love this nighttime shot, from a postcard:

Here are similar views today: 

And for comparison's sake, here is the original St. Francis Xavier Church, built on the same site in 1886:



Sposabella Couture Bridal Shop Moving into Dolly Lyla Space

It's been less than a week since quirky boutique Dolly Lyla moved out of its storefront at 69 Seventh Avenue (between Berkeley and Lincoln), and the space has already been snatched up. 

Sposabella Couture, which will sell "everything for the bride, except the groom," according to its sign, in in the process of moving into the space. The bridal salon has another location in Bay Ridge, which apparently sells more than 600 varieties of veils and just about everything else a bride might need. Reviews range from glowing to negative.