Brooklyn Winery's team crafts small-batch, artisanal wines in Williamsburg?and if winemaking in an urban environment sounds odd to customers, they can always find out how it works during Tuesday winery tours. The tour guides walk groups through their entire process, from the moment the grapes arrive at the facility to when the cork goes in the final wine bottle, trapping the wine genie inside for good. Of course, the process varies from wine to wine. The team ages some vintages in stainless-steel containers, while the barrel-fermented riesling is aged, predictably, in oak barrels, an old-school technique that originated in prerefrigeration Germany. The result? A quirky riesling with hints of soapstone, mushroom, and honey.
The team doesn't just reclaim old German traditions, though. For their unpretentious 1,200-square-foot wine bar, they also reclaimed most of the building materials. In the cozy, unpretentious bar, visitors sip vintages pulled from wine racks that were once World War II ammo boxes; the walls, meanwhile, were barn wood in a past life, and the bar itself is made from old church pews, completing the aura of modernity rooted in history.
Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
Mario and Anna Abitino emigrated from Naples to the U.S. in 1972. Mario quickly found work in the pizza business, and the couple eventually opened a restaurant of their own: Abitino’s Pizza and Italian Kitchen, in Midtown Manhattan. That was more than 20 years ago. Today, the couple and their three sons, Dominick, Mario Jr., and Salvatore, run six New York pizzerias bearing the family name. Each offers an expansive menu of signature pizzas and other Italian entrees, such as gnocchi sorrentino and pasta stuffed with fresh littleneck clams. Their pizzas and calzones use dough made right on the premises, and their tomato sauce is also housemade—with tomatoes from Naples, naturally.
Whether you're a passionate brewing hobbyist or a beginner who simply loves beer, you'll find the staff at Homebrews & Handgrenades remarkably approachable. Nobody here is trying to intimidate others with their vast knowledge; they simply want to teach customers about the brewing process and help them stock up on the right supplies.
Behind the quaint storefront are shelves stacked with ingredients and brewing equipment. Thankfully, the staff can guide you through the containers of hops, barley, yeast, and beer plants, recommending which ingredients work best for specific styles. Brewing classes dive deeper into the world of beer and give students the chance to craft five gallons of the good stuff.
Chef Ricardo Cardona might be from El Salvador, but that doesn’t mean his cooking sticks to tradition. At Mamajuana Café, he draws on more than 25 years of cooking to build his modern cuisine on a foundation of his homeland’s centuries-old cooking traditions. And it seems like his efforts have paid off: his Nuevo Latino dishes, which also prominently feature Dominican flavors, earned the eatery a Critics’ Pick designation from New York magazine. All that attention might be on account of the chef’s inventive flavor combinations, such as sweet plantains stuffed with salted cod, chicken-tempura sushi rolls, and Cornish game hen topped with diced chorizo and lobster. In the dining space, tufted leather banquettes run along the wall just beneath studio lighting and backlit artwork. Bright red and earth-tone curtains give the room a clublike vibe, which set the tone for when diners take to the dance floor between courses.
The Avenue Cafe stockpiles its prolific culinary roster with traditional classics and contemporary cuisine featuring Spanish, Italian, and Greek specialties served within elegant Metropolitan-themed surroundings. Selections from the dinner and lunch menu include three-quarter-pound burgers—which weigh the same as three-quarter-pound dumbbells coated in ketchup—molded into specialty creations such as the Mediterranean served on toasted pita with feta cheese, peppers, onions, and mushrooms ($11.99). Signature salads, including the Southwest steak edition ($14.95), amass an Arizona-sized taco shell in grilled skirt steak, baby corn, red roasted peppers, and romaine lettuce. Taste buds can take a culinary trip to the old country with international entrees such as the penne alla vodka, a pasta dish adorned with plum tomatoes and light vodka-cream sauce ($10.99), or the chicken madrid, sautéed with spinach in lemon-white-wine-butter sauce ($16.99) and flown over Spain's capital just for good measure. More than 25 omelets occupy breakfast-menu real estate, with specialty portobello mushrooms ($9.95) packing gourmet fungi into a heap of shredded cheddar and mozzarella complemented by roasted peppers and three eggs.