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.