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This ‘Iris’ has a focus on breakfast

The Brooklyn Paper
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Just when you think that the Iris Cafe is in the worst location in the borough, you walk in and can’t find a seat because the place is jammed.

Though it’s tucked onto a Brooklyn Heights block that is as adverse to foot traffic as the MTA is to fare cuts, the residents of the so-called Willowtown section of the Heights are clearly happy to no longer have to schlep to Montague Street for breakfast.

Credit Rachel Graville for that. A former cafe manager and maitre d’ at a number of Manhattan venues, Graville opened her 20-seat restaurant just after Thanksgiving, serving up organic soft-boiled egg dishes, country ham sandwiches, homemade soups and great baked goods to the laptop-tapping writer types who have come out of the woodwork (free WiFi keeps them typing away all day).

The restaurant is between Joralemon and State streets, so if the adjacent section of Brooklyn Bridge Park is ever built, Graville will be sitting pretty. But for now, she’s not worried about a stretch that has seen the demise of many restaurants (most recently Alicia’s).

“We can survive even without the park,” she said. “For one thing, we serve coffee, which is an addictive substance. And we serve breakfast all day, which people like. Believe it or not, good food and good coffee isn’t that common in the Heights.”

The Brooklyn Paper sampled a plate of eggs, Surryano ham, dill and toast ($7.50), a smoked cheddar and ham baguette sandwich ($9), and a deeply satisfying ham biscuit (the value of the century at $2.25). The Paper team also consumed mass quantities of Graville’s Stumptown Coffee and finished off with a nice oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie.

It was a great meal. Now, if we could only find a table.

Iris Cafe [20 Columbia Pl. between Joralemon and State streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 722-7395]. Closed Mondays.

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Reader Feedback

ms nomer from the land of good spelling says:
"Surryano" - really? It's SERRANO ham, a delicious cured ham from Spain.
Jan. 19, 2010, 1:58 pm
Sam from Brooklyn Heights says:
I love this cafe!!! I can't help but walk in every morning for a coffee and small breakfast. This little place has such a great, friendly, and cozy environment. I highly recommend this cafe for anybody interested in a simple place with great/fresh food and reasonable prices.
Jan. 19, 2010, 11:39 pm
Jessica from Cobble Hill says:
I don't know what they serve at this cafe, but Surryano ham is a real thing. Google it.
Jan. 20, 2010, 12:55 am
Carlito Surryano from Spain says:
My ham is of the finest quailty and I would die if someone else tried to compare it to Serrano Ham!
The surryanos have been curing ham in the north spain for centuries and our tradition is rich and beautiful. I have personally developed the dill and egg recipie using our ham and I hope that the people of willowtown enjoy my gift to your people.
Jan. 20, 2010, 5:27 am
Nancy Ewert from Lopez Island, WA says:
WOW.....I am from Rachel's "hometown" island and we are all sure proud of her!!! Thank you for your great article...hope to someday stop by for a cup of that great coffee!!
Jan. 22, 2010, 10:02 pm
Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) says:
By the way, Surryano is correct. This is an American version of the Serrano ham that "Ms Nomer" posted about above.

GERSH
Jan. 27, 2010, 11:38 am
Scoot Moore from Alsip says:
Just saw this on 1st look TV and the soft boiled egg on cheddar ham biscuit sammy looks DELISH!!!

Sure wish I didn't live in Illinois - for a day at least.
Jan. 20, 2013, 1:30 am

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