Tree-lined streets and historic brownstones give Bed-Stuy its neighborhood character in this the Brooklyn district spanning from Bedford Avenue to Stuyvesant Avenue. A perfect day begins with a coffee at one of the Bedford Ave cafés, followed by a walk through the neighborhood, and maybe you’ll even go into one of the vintage stores off Nostrand or Lewis Avenues. Spend the day filling your bellies with heartwarming food with these affordable eats.
417 Nostrand Ave
Located on the corner of Nostrand and Jefferson, this beautiful yellow bistro owned by Angela Pellew-Whyte, a native of Guyana, offers warm customer service and a small but satisfying pan-Caribbean menu. The curried goat, coconut rice, oxtail, and jerk chicken pay tribute to classic island cuisine, while the meticulously prepared sides don’t fail to surprise. As a vegetarian, I always order the fried plantains and a bowl of the spicy mac & cheese—the best I’ve had in New York. It’s wonderful to sit outside with a glass of wine and enjoy your meal while watching people meander down Nostrand Avenue.
Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop
1267 Fulton St
Don’t be put off by the exterior of this place—what looks like a run-down storefront that sells cheap electronics and foreign phone cards is a no-frills West Indian joint with incredible doubles, a common street food hailing from Trinidad and Tobago. Doubles are made of two pieces of hot bara (flatbread) filled with curry chana (curried chickpeas). For $1.50 per double you can’t get better value for your money anywhere in all five boroughs of New York City. And for $4.50 you get hot vegetable mash with chickpeas, beans, peas, and potatoes in a double roti with a choice of sweet tamarind or hot sauce. The owner, Ali, a Trinidadian of South Asian descent, is always up for a delightful and politically conscious chat.
Peaches Restaurant and Bar
393 Lewis Ave
Probably the most popular of the restaurants, the Peaches eateries are owned by Bed-Stuy native Craig Samuel and his business partner, Ben Grossman, who met as chefs at eateries across the globe. Focusing on traditionally American cuisine with a Southern comfort twist, Peaches may be infamous for long waiting times, but it’s famous for delectable fried chicken and a signature French toast ice cream dessert. If you’re not swinging by during brunch time for crab and salmon cakes, start with the wings and a godsent spinach and artichoke dip, followed by the burger. For a vegetarian option, go with the tortilla chips (they come with the spinach dip too) and an assortment of their sides. Their limited but exquisite menu is worth the occasionally cranky customer service.
Ma-N-Pop Soul Food
349 Lewis Ave
Do you crave some well-made comfort food before venturing to Bar LunÁtico or a party in Bushwick? Well, this bare-bones eatery offers all-day breakfast and soul food based on recipes from the local owner’s family. Posters and pictures of Black activists decorate the walls, and the small red tables establish a chilled-out, homey atmosphere that lives up to the restaurant’s name. Ma-N-Pop excels at hot food, like burgers and ribs, but stay away from the cold sandwiches, which are usually hit or miss. Although the collard greens are scrumptious and the homemade fries give you a hug from the inside, vegetarians are left with very limited options.
563 Gates Ave
As someone who was raised in the place where pretzels are from (Germany), I can only approve of this light-flooded bistro’s deliciously crunchy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside pretzel sandwiches with fresh fillings. All food is locally sourced and prepared with love. If you go during the week, you get to talk to Asian American owner, Kim Kilduff, about her favorite Bed-Stuy spots and where exactly your lunch is coming from. Omnivores, go for the sliced turkey breast pretzel sando with provolone cheese, roasted peppers, baby greens, and basil pesto. Vegans can opt for one with avocado and hummus and plenty of fresh vegetables, or the delicious seasonal salads.