Finally there’s a reason to go to the Brooklyn Public Library besides books.
Spencer Rothschild, the man behind much-loved Park Slope restaurants Barrio, Playa and Cabana Bar, is now serving his Latino-influenced beach cuisine on the plaza in front of the central branch of America’s fifth-largest public library.
“This is a chance to do real food, not just a hot dog, and give people a great new gathering place,” said Rothschild, who cut the ribbon on Open Book Cafe by Mambo with Borough President Markowitz on Wednesday morning.
The concept is classic Rothschild: breakfast, beginning at 8:30 to serve incoming library workers and some commuters, will consist of homemade granola, espresso drinks, muffins and croissants.
At 11 pm, the menu expands to include lobster salad sliders (a bargain at three for $8.75), mini pulled pork sandwiches (three for $5.95), chips and guacamole, tacos, quesadillas and salads.
For the kids, there’ll be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with carrot sticks.
Wash it all down with homemade watermelon lemonade or mango iced tea — until, that is, the wine and beer license is approved, a permit that will create a “wine and beer garden — with books,” said Rothschild, who made his reputation a decade ago with Calle Ocho, Yushi and Union Pacific restaurants in Manhattan, a neighboring borough.
The outdoor cafe is not just a result of the warming temperatures. The library’s existing cafe, which has long underwhelmed patrons (and certainly not brought in outsiders), is undergoing a renovation in hopes of bringing the “Open Book Cafe” approach indoors come fall.
Rothschild may get that gig, too.
Open Book Cafe by Mambo at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, (718) 230-2458]