Delicious things have unappetizing beginnings.
Whether it’s a bakery, seafood restaurant, or barbecue spot, one of the Brooklyn’s most gritty streets in the heart of historically industrial Gowanus is experiencing a culinary surge.
Third Avenue is the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare just steps away from the Gowanus Canal and it was once a place where prostitutes were known to traipse through. But now the avenue is on its way to becoming a dining hotspot, with way more places to eat other than the old-school 1948 Two Toms red-sauce joint, back when they called the neighborhood South Brooklyn.
Here are some of our favorite eateries that are rapidly changing the culinary landscape by the canal:
1. The Pines
The eclectic menu at this new-American restaurant changes frequently, but creative staple dishes like the cappellacci pasta stuffed with oxtail, crab, and sheep’s sorrel ($24) and the wagyu culottee steak with abalone mushrooms, mibuna, and potatoes ($34) are choice. The quaint eatery, which opened last year, even has backyard seating.
[284 Third Avenue between Carroll and President streets in Gowanus, (718) 596–6560, www.thepinesbrooklyn.com].
This classic New England-style seafood shack serves up fishy favorites like the Maine-style lobster roll ($18), raw littleneck clams ($1.50 each), and its much buzzed-about fried full belly Ipswich clam roll with tartar sauce and shredded romaine lettuce ($16).
“There wasn’t like a boom of restaurants that is starting to happen now,” said owner Aaron Lefkove who opened the seafood joint in 2011 when there was not much commercial activity along the strip, adding that he really “took a chance” on the then-sleepy area.
[288 Third Avenue between Carroll and President streets in Gowanus, (718) 522–1921, www.littleneckbrooklyn.com].
3. Runner and Stone
This seven-month-old bakery, cafe, and restaurant dishes out homemade pastries and breads in the morning and plates such as roasted chicken cooked in mushroom broth with buckwheat dumplings ($19) at night. The sky-lit restaurant’s signature dish is the duck pastrami appetizer with beer mustard, pickled onions, and rye.
Co-owner and head baker Peter Endriss said that he and his partner chef Chris Pizzulli opened on Third Avenue because of its unique architecture and low-key, but up-and-coming ambiance.
“The neighborhood has a nice feel being low-rise and having the big industrial buildings,” he said. “Every month it seems another restaurant or some type of food service opens near us.”
[285 Third Ave. between Carroll and President streets in Gowanus, (718) 576–3360, www.runnerandstone.com].
4. Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue
This barbecue hotspot, which opened right after Hurricane Sandy, churns out a range of all-natural, seasoned, and smoked meats cooked over a Texas-made wood-fired pit.
Go for the St. Louis-style ribs ($22 for a half rack) with a side of pit-smoked baked beans ($4), or the coriander pork steak ($7) and the all-brisket chili ($5).
[433 Third Ave. between Seventh and Eighth streets in Gowanus, (347) 763–2680), www.fletchersbklyn.com]
5. Four & Twenty Blackbirds
The Elsen sisters opened up this popular pie shop and café three years ago. The shop boasts homemade pies, tarts, and other desserts to quench your sweet tooth.
The 10-inch pies like the salted caramel apple, rhubarb crumble, and malted chocolate pecan go for $38 to $40. Pies can also be bought by the slice.
[439 Third Ave. between Seventh and Eighth streets in Gowanus, (718) 499–2917, www.birdsblack.com].