Brooklyn Bridge Park is about to give The River Café a run for its money.
Park officials announced on Monday that they are seeking an operator for a new, high-profile restaurant inside the waterfront park and development — an eatery with sweeping views of the Gaphattan skyline next to a consistently packed playground.
The space and its adjacent outdoor terrace, both expected to open next fall, will put the park on the foodie map in Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
“I want [the restaurant] to symbolize the borough’s surging culinary reputation,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer, who was criticized a few months ago after selecting two Manhattan-based eateries to run the four food stands on Pier 1 at the foot of Old Fulton Street on the northern end of the sprawling waterfront greenspace.
The winner of the Pier 6 bid will have the opportunity to open a food cart on its own small outdoor terrace (and serve booze inside to all those thirsty parents at the adjacent playground!). The restaurant could be open year-round from 6 am to 1 am — when the park closes — and host music and events.
Nearby restaurant owners are excited to welcome other food ventures in the park, despite the new competition.
“I’m from the neighborhood, too,” said Peter Thristino, owner of Pete’s Downtown on Fulton Street. “I want everyone to prosper. I don’t want to be the only one down here.”
Still, restaurants like the River Café — which rests at the foot of Water Street on the East River and had unrivaled dinnertime views of the water — will certainly face some new challenges when the new restaurant comes in, depending on its atmosphere. River Café owner Michael O’Keeffe didn’t return calls for comment by press time.
Park documents show that the restaurant that offers the most rent will likely win the lease. And that’s no small detail; rent from the restaurant will fund the park’s $16-million annual maintenance budget.
Park officials didn’t reveal any sort of asking price — but a place with a view on the water is nearly priceless. City-view apartments at the adjacent One Brooklyn Bridge Park residential building can go for hundreds of thousands more than those with views of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
The restaurant marks just one of several new public-friendly amenities coming to the stretch of park between Atlantic Avenue and Old Fulton Street next year. The St. Ann’s Warehouse theater company is slated to take over and renovate the deteriorating Tobacco Warehouse, new volleyball courts and other sports are coming to Pier 6, Pier 1’s construction is done, and the bike path connecting both ends of the park is also finished.