This past weekend my teenage daughter and I decided to take some time out of our daily routine and head to Bed Stuyvesant, Brooklyn for brunch. Our destination: Alice’s Arbor. It had been years since I’d been to Bed Stuy, and I always knew even then it was on the brink of gentrification and change, so I was eager to make this particular trip from our home in Westchester. As a vegetarian, I can tell you that the menu, which is inspired by Chef Mike Franzetti, is diverse and wide ranging. Carnivores can have their share of meat, from chicken to ribs for dinner, while vegetarians like me can enjoy non-meat dishes. He offers both daily and weekly specials.
Alice’s Arbor was the perfect start to our day. For me, the restaurant is a sign of all the changes Bed Stuy is going through while maintaining its sense of authenticity and dedication to its residents. Populated with locals, consisting of people of all ages and backgrounds hipsters and non-hipsters, Alice’s Arbor has an eclectic look and feel inside, with wood floors, branch light fixtures, hanging mobiles, and glass pendant light fixtures. It has a very relaxed ambiance and is very country and home-style, with a feeling of the Catskills or Adirondacks. The wait staff is equally laid back, albeit a bit busy on the weekend.
The restaurant is farm-to-table, so all the ingredients are local, making it a real home-grown restaurant. The owners literally buy the food from local distributors and producers to give back to their community and support its people. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s also extremely child-friendly – I know because my picky teenager had no problem ordering. It was close to lunchtime, but breakfast was still available, as were pastries and an assortment of bread, including gluten-free.
We were there for Sunday brunch, and the menu was all kinds of wonderful, and quite reasonable. On weekends, any plate, salad, or sandwich comes with a bloody mary or mimosa and choice of coffee, tea, or OJ for $19. We scanned the menu and were mesmerized by the options. #1 French toast with brioche, berry compote, and maple syrup #2 Eggs Benedict #3 Mushroom & goat cheese omelet #4 Kale salad #5 (and my choice) The Jessie, cabot white cheddar, tomato, avocado, egg, arugula, on a croissant with a side of (spicy, yummy) Cowboy Fries. I was very happy with my choice, as was my daughter with her omelet. The ingredients were fresh and I liked that fact that they were all community grown or produced.
In addition to the delectable food, Alice’s Arbor offers cocktails, wines, and beers, and they have a popular happy hour. They also offer a convenient takeaway counter with pastries and drinks from Kitten Coffee.They play great music, there’s a good vibe and ambiance, and I’d definitely go back for dinner and plan to.
After lunch, we walked around the neighborhood and wandered into Harold and Maude Vintage and I Like Mike’s Mid Century Modern. Between our visit to Alice’s Arbor and our stroll, we were both convinced that Bed Stuy is simply where it’s at.
Alice’s Arbor is located at 549 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 718-399-3003, www.alicesarborbk.com and is open weekdays for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekends for brunch and dinner. Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday 9a – 11p, Friday 9a – 12a, Saturday 10a – 12a and Sunday 10a – 11p.
Disclosure: My visit to Alice’s Arbor was complimentary to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.