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Garden of eatin’! Windsor Terrace restaurant scene blooms

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Photo gallery

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Farm-to-Windsor: Brooklyn Commune owner Chris Scott opened his farm-to-table eatery in Windsor Terrace in 2010, making him one of the first restauranteurs to come to the area during what’s been described as the Windsor Terrace explosion.
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Commune in: Brooklyn Commune opened up on Greenwood Avenue in 2010, bringing sustainable eats and farm-to-table dining to Windsor Terrace.
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East Windsor Terrace: Chris Cheung, chef and part owner at the East Wind Snack Shop on 16th Street, displays some of the aged prime beef and pork dumplings that have made his eatery a destination in Windsor Terrace.
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What a dumpling: Sizhu Mei, waiter and part owner of the East Wind Snack Shop, holds up some tasty dumplings outsider her E. 16th Street eatery in Windsor Terrace.
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Eastern treats: The East Wind Snack Shop, which opened in February, has made a name for itself serving tasty, aged prime beef (left) and pork dumplings, amongst other scrumtious delights.
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Busting out: Bartender Vincent Ryan serves up a “June is busting out” cocktail at Le Paddock on Propsect Park Aveue in Windsor Terrace.
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Ooh-la-la: Le Paddock brought fine French cuisine to Windsor Terrace when it first opened in 2011.
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A taste of Europe: Le Paddock joined the Windsor Terrace restaurant explosion when it opened on Prospect Avenue in 2011.
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Gunning for success: Tuscan Gun’s May opening brought some fine Italian eats to Windsor Terrace.

Windsor Terrace has a lot on its plate.

The quiet residential nabe was once a fine-dining desert, but a garden of eatin’ has blossomed in the small tract of land between Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery over the past five years as the area’s real-estate market has taken off, say local foodies.

“Right now we’re in this tornado of new restaurants, homes, and real-estate coming in, and it’s good for everybody,” said Chris Scott, co-owner of Brooklyn Commune, a cafe on Greenwood Avenue between Prospect Avenue and E. Seventh Street where diners can eat tofu scrambles and fancy grilled cheese sandwiches at a communal table.

It all started with Brancaccio’s Food Shop in January 2010, say Windsor Terrace food historians.

Eponymous chef and owner Joe Brancaccio says he was driving around Brooklyn the year before looking for a place to open his own sandwich joint, when he spotted a vacant store-front on a strip of Fort Hamilton Parkway between E. Second and E. Third streets that had the exact quality he was looking for — it was deserted.

“You have to get out in front of new areas as they’re coming up,” said Branccacio. “A part of my plan included opening something where there was nothing.”

Sensing an opportunity, the wannabe restaurateur staked out the strip with a hand-held tally counter and tracked the foot-traffic — or lack thereof — confirming that it was indeed the dead-zone of his dreams.

“I sat in my car for hours with a clicker, and counted the activity,” he said. “You couldn’t count 10 people that walked along this strip.”

Brancaccio’s entrepreneurial instincts served him well — not long after the restaurant celebrated its debut, home-buyers started paying upwards of $1 million for houses in the neighborhood, and more young, affluent families began moving in, he says.

“It was about a year after the opening — older people started selling their homes and newer clients started coming in,” he said. “Windsor Terrace is kind of in a pocket, and because of that, when you have a business here, you’re dependent on the community.”

And a flood of new restaurants followed in their wake. Scott opened Brooklyn Commune later that year, French bistro Le Paddock settled down on Prospect Avenue at Reeve Place in 2011, comfort-food pub Hamilton’s opened down the road at E. Fourth Street in 2012, followed by Israeli eatery Batata Pita Bar and Fina Pizza Bar between E. Second and E. Third streets in 2014.

This year alone, hip dumpling house East Wind Snack Shop has begun steaming up a storm on 16th Street near Prospect Park West, Italian eatery the Tuscan Gun set up shop on Windsor Place near 10th Avenue, and pancake house the Fox and the Crepe started flipping out on Prospect Avenue near Reeve Place — right next to another newcomer, beer and cheese joint the Prospector.

The new eatery owners say the neighborhood’s affordable leases are as big a draw-card as the hungry young diners moving into the area.

“Windsor Terrace is still affordable now, but, if I had gone to Park Slope, I’m not sure I would have been able to do that,” said Batata Pita Bar owner Shenhav Yehzkel. “We’ve been doing pretty well here.”

But it won’t last forever — Scott predicts the neighborhood will soon become too pricey for newer eateries — and then the whole process will repeat itself further down the borough.

“I guarantee you that Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay, and Ditmas Park are going to be the next spots that explode,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Fatty from Windsor Terrace says:
Me eat !!!!

Eat food !!!!!!!
Sept. 10, 2015, 3:08 am
Randy Peers says:
As the former community board 7 Chair and former Windsor Terrace resident, I want to be a bit critical of this article and offer some words of caution. Windsor Terrace was a pioneer community that fought to preserve its low density character back in the 1980s. As long as it remains low-density, the population will always remain small - which is good for most of the residents, including those that now made $1million dollar investments in their new homes. An over-saturation of restaurants in this small area will not bode well for the long-term viability of these restaurants as they will all be competing for the same small base of customers. Furthermore, being wedged between Prospect park and the immovable prospect expressway, means it is unlikely that the eastern half of Windsor Terrace will ever become a commuter restaurant scene like Bay Ridge or Park Slope.

Unfortunately, a flood of culinary institute grads with a dream but no real business plan may just be setting themselves up for financial struggle.
Sept. 10, 2015, 9:06 am
TerraceWindsor from Windsor Terrace says:
You forgot to mention that the owner of Fox & the Crepes & the Prospector is also opening a new Italian restaurant right across the street, and you forgot key new Windsor Terrace restaurant Krupa Grocery which may be the most highly rated and successful one of them all, not to mention new restaurant/coffee shop Brunswick right across the street from there.

If you wanted to get specific, you could also point out there's also already been some turnover. A year or so ago everyone was writing about Brunswick, Krupa and BROOKLYN PROPER moving in to the neighborhood. The latter is already closed (that's where East Wind Snack Shop moved in). Batata also replaced a similar operation Hummus Garden which was there for about a year (and was also VERY good)

P.S. Double Windsor, relatively new and fancy compared to Farrell's right across the street, holds its own in the "food for yuppies" department too, and Windsor Terrace is proud to be the location of the only Dub Pie location (right next to where a brand new expensive juice, smoothie and sandwich shop is opening)
Sept. 10, 2015, 3:45 pm
JAY from NYC says:
I would agree with randy and would add a few other things. Most of these "new" places are in spaces that had other business that failed and were then vacant for along time.
The one exception is Tuscan Gun, that space they are in had another Italian restaurant that was open and failed after less than a year and then Tuscan moved in like 2-3 months later. Prior to that other failed Italian restaurant, the space had been vacant for years.
Second, the area is quiet, which is why most people moved to WT and stayed. They typically don't want restaurants and things like that, which can bring in more people to an area, take up parking and making noise,trash etc.
When the only grocery store closed and was going to be replaced by a chain drug store, the entire neighborhood organized and threatened a boycott.
Third, there is not much retail space in WT to begin with, so it will likely not be some place like its neighbor park slope that has many restaurants and bars.
Fourth, there are not many apartments in the area, its mostly owner occupied single family, although there are some where the owner rents out the basement floor type of thing. You also have a number of multi generational households as well.
Yes, prices have gone up, but they have gone up everywhere in Brooklyn, but that has more to do with people migrating from Manhattan than anything else, however you don't have a lot of new people moving in, as this article states, for the simple reason there are almost no properties on the market for sale.
So overall BP another c- article.
Sept. 10, 2015, 6:26 pm
TerraceWindsor from Windsor Terrace says:
"They typically don't want restaurants and things like that"

I don't agree with this statement. Fix and the Crepes has been busy since the hour it opened. I don't know about old residents, but the average new person who chose Windsor Terrace because they couldn't afford Park Slope, is extremely excited about the many new, tasty and convenient options.

I agree competition must be tough though. You can now get an espresso drink at Elk, Fox & Crepes, Commune, Brunswick, Dub Pie, Krupa Grocery, Steeplechase, Tuscan Gun and CT Muffin, not to mention the new Dunkin Donuts and probably places I'm not thinking about
Sept. 10, 2015, 10:44 pm
Kit says:
My favorite restaurant in Windsor Terrace has been there for years -- Elora's for margaritas, guacamole and fajitas and a very friendly vibe.
Sept. 11, 2015, 1:46 pm
������ from �� says:
How about Regina Bakery?
Sept. 12, 2015, 9:15 pm
WTYoungProfessional from Windsor Terrace says:
I agree with TerraceWindsor; people who've moved in want these new businesses but I can understand older residents pushing back.

Windsor Terrace is a changing neighborhood like most of the other neighborhoods near Prospect Park. People are moving to Brooklyn and people want to be near the park. I moved to Windsor Terrace for those reasons-- the price was right and I'm a short walk to the park. And, I'm thrilled all these new businesses are coming in. I like being able to go out in my immediate area rather than having to take the F into Park Slope or Carroll Gardens or the G into Williamsburg or Bushwick. At the end of the day the area is so residential, it's only going to change so much. It's not like this is Prospect Lefferts Gardens and there's a huge commercial strip like Flatbush Ave that's going to get transformed. The closest we've got is Prospect Park West from 15th to the Prospect. And, it's not like there's a huge apartment stock to knock down and remake or gut and renovate and jack up the prices. And to the post above saying people who bought in the 80's made a million dollar investment? Well, the investment will only be that much more profitable by way of the area having stuff to do. People don't just buy in Park Slope to be near the park, they value the amenities it has.

Furthermore, the culture of passing down property in Windsor Terrace is likely enhanced by new businesses coming in. I'm 27 and a friend of mine my age from college just took over a property of his grandma's after her death. It was partly motivated by his thoughts on the area as it exists. Yes, a paid off house is a paid house and a paid off condo is a paid-off condo but you'd be surprised. That 20-30 something is going to be more likely to take over a property given that the area is more lively now. I grew up in a neighborhood in Brooklyn untouched by gentrification and very far from the city. As it stands now, I'd rather rent for a long time and save up money than take over my parents' house, which is paid off, because I don't like the area and wouldn't want to live there as an adult. Is it irrational sure? But it is what it is.
Sept. 14, 2015, 12:12 pm

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