Alices Arbor Grows in Brooklyn

American wine, whiskey and food in a rustic space

Phrases like artisanal, seasonal, local and even “Brooklyn,” have become buzzwords, meant to signal a certain kind of trendy outpost of cuisine. But the team behind Alice’s Arbor has truer roots with the farm-to-table concept. In the hands of restaurateur Dimitri Vlahakis (including Motorino and La Gamelle), Director of Operations Eric Goulange, and chef/partner Mike Franzetti (Palladin, Washington Park, Lupa and Chestnut), words such as genuine, local and authentic are turned into action.

From the sincere greeting you’ll receive from the staff, to the general store stocked with items from the menu, to the well-edited selection of wines, spirits and beers at the bar, to the wood- burning oven in the kitchen, you’ll see at once that this is the real deal. Inside the spacious dining room, paneled with repurposed wood doors, there’s an eclectic crowd enjoying each other’s company. Telling, loving details that decorate the space include driftwood branch light fixtures, hanging mobiles scrounged from the Ashokan Reservoir in Upstate New York, and clustered glass beaker pendant light fixtures. Outside, the sidewalk seating feels like a front porch in the country. It’s fun and comfortable, with food and drink that are intensely flavorful and deeply satisfying, with a very reasonable price tag.

Here, local isn’t just about where the best quality food is sourced, but also about contributing to the neighborhood, building a community, buying from local producers and distributors of Brooklyn, as well as supporting the economy of upstate New York. The warm welcome is not a shallow come-on—this is a place that is proactively responsive to the changing needs of the locals. For example, breakfast morphs into lunch throughout the day with everything from pastries and omelettes with a side of cowboy fries (seasoned with a sweet- smoky spice blend) to egg sandwiches on flauta and bahn mi croissants. (Gluten-free pastries and bread are also available.)

Brunch (think French toast cubano!) attracts lines down the block every weekend, and well- crafted cocktails, wine and beers are presented with very encouraging happy hour prices (4-7pm and after 11pm) including $1 oysters, often from Long Island.
Bar snacks include sweet chipotle walnuts, grilled chorizo, stuffed mushrooms, and cheese and meat platters with fruits, nuts, jelly and bread. (The “happy” prices are offers on the high quality draft beers, house cocktails, and flights, with an extra discount for well spirits.)

But it is dinner—the best draw for neighborhood professionals—that highlights the best that the market has to offer. Chef Mike Franzetti’s authentic, straightforward, European-influenced American cooking honors his Brooklyn roots as well as his experience working with some of New York City’s best chefs including Mark Ladner, Jonathan Waxman, Jean Louis Palladin and Paul Di Bari. The chef offers both daily and weekly specials. Daily specials highlight what’s freshest and
finest from local producers, and weekly specials offer special deals or comfort food favorites. For example, on Mondays and Tuesdays, guest can choose any appetizer, entrée and dessert on the menu for $25.

House favorite appetizers include scallops seared to a toasty brown, served with large al dente white beans, crisply sautéed oyster mushrooms with romesco sauce; moist, tender crisp skinned Sullivan County Farm trout with lemon, capers and brown butter, plated over roasted fingerlings, bright, crisp green beans and ribeye steak frites with poivre sauce and herb butter. The mac & cheese is rich with a blend of cheddar and goat cheese béchamel, it’s cheesy, saucy and crisp in just the right measure—and ready to be customized with the addition of mix-ins including pulled pork, jalapeno, BBQ sauce (a combo of all three is a staff favorite), mixed vegetables, lobster or truffle oil. Side dishes can make a meal, too—compose a plate from a seasonal selection that may include roasted cauliflower, cheese grits, braised fennel, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and black-eyed pea salad. Sweets include Mike’s cheesecake with raspberry coulis, vanilla chia pudding, and apple crisp with Blue Marble ice cream.

The beverage program, hand-selected by Eric Goulange is equal to the food in thoughtful sourcing. The wines, biodynamic, organic or sustainable whenever possible, are limited, rare selections from small producers, with surprisingly reasonable price points, available by the glass or bottle. Current selections include William Vigne Gruner from the Finger Lakes, and Vino Rosato by Andrea Scorvero, available only at Alice's Arbor and one other restaurant in Brooklyn.

Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch flights and tasting portions from over 50 local and international distilleries available in 1, 1.5, and 2oz portions.

The cocktail list is based in a selection of American spirits, locally made bitters, and market ingredients. The Gin Figz is Barr Hill Honey Gin, fig preserves and lemon thyme simple syrup; the Nuegroni is built with Glorious Gin, Atsby’s Amberthorn, Aveze genetian liqueur, with a lemon twist. The American craft beer program includes 11 taps, exclusive and rare beers from the best craft breweries in Brooklyn and the Greater New York State area. Beer tasting flights are also available. The beer bottle list includes Delirium Tremens, Kelso Nut Brown, Miller High Life, a choice of alcoholic ciders, and gluten-free Steadfast Blonde and Brunehaut Amber.

Alice’s Arbor is located at 549 Classon Avenue, 718-399-3003, 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.


For press inquiries, please contact Natalie Ann Barton,