Every afternoon, Wednesday through Sunday, Crossroads Café, a Windsor Terrace bakery and coffee shop, magically transforms into Nanny Goat Hill, a small plates restaurant and wine bar.
The confusing one-minute-it’s-a-coffee-shop/the-next-minute-it’s-a-bar configuration makes perfect sense to Jeremiah Fox, who co-owns both Nanny Goat Hill and the Juice Box, a wine and spirits shop just a few storefronts down on Prospect Avenue.
“We had been looking to do a wine bar in this neighborhood for years, but all of the spaces we found were too expensive,” he explained.
“When we realized Crossroads Café was closing at 4 pm everyday, we approached them about sharing the space. The rent is affordable, they already have a working kitchen and all of their permits in place, and we were able start this venture with minimal capital and commitment. It’s kind of perfect.”
That said, transforming a Bohemian coffee house into a rustic wine bar five nights a week is not completely without stress — Fox and partners decided to go for a complete makeover after sundown; hanging drapes over Crossroads’ sandwich bar, bringing in stools and tables, setting out candles, and even attaching a custom-built wooden wine bar to the fence outside.
“It’s a pretty big song and dance,” said Fox. “I’m a sight on the changeover days — running up and down the street between the two storefronts, hauling furniture, putting out fires. Sometimes, people even stop me in the middle of the street to ask if we have this wine or that at the Juice Box. It’s been interesting.”
So far, the work has paid off — the fly-by-night restaurant attracted more than 70 customers on their first evening of service.
“The great thing is, people aren’t just coming to drink — almost everyone has ordered food so far,” said Fox. “It creates more of an ambience. Also, most of the recommendations we make at Juice Box are based on pairing wine with food, and this restaurant gives us even more opportunity to showcase that knowledge.”
To accompany the varied but succinct wine menu — seven whites, six reds, three sparkling and two roses, priced from $6-$15 a glass — Nanny Goat Hill focuses on shareable nibbles and vino-friendly bites — cheese and meat boards with quince paste and local honey, roasted potato wedges with garlic aioli dipping sauce, boquerones (Portuguese anchovies) with cucumber salad and almonds, seared scallops with bacon, and mussels provencal.
“There are certainly bars in this neighborhood — Rhythm and Blues, the Double Windsor Farrells — but there’s nothing in Windsor Terrace that focuses on wine; definitely not on food and wine,” said Fox.
“The greatest advertisement for what we’re doing has been running around setting up shop every day,” he added. “We get to talk to our neighbors — explain our concept. As much as we hope to see customers from every part of Brooklyn, the bread and butter of this business will definitely be the locals.”
Crossroads Cafe/Nanny Goat Hill [1241 Prospect Ave. between Reeve Place and Greenwood Avenue in Windsor Terrace, (718) 972-1852].