Archive for the ‘Neighborhood Spotlight’ Category

Neighborhood Spotlight: Nob Hill, Portland

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Miles, our store manager in Nob Hill shares his favorite neighborhood spots in Portlandia.

Salt & Straw - 838 Northwest 23rd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97210

Salt and Straw is a new addition to NW 23rd Ave, and people literally line up around the block to get their mitts on these decadent ice cream creations. In particular, the Sea Salt Ice Cream w/ Caramel Ribbon is so ostentatiously tasty I had to write haiku: 

put the “Salt” in straw

caramel time is the best

the ooey gooey

Other flavorsome options include Cheddar Apple Pie, Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, and Pear with Blue Cheese. A must for any gastro-tour of Portland.

Cinema 21 - 616 Northwest 21st Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209

Any time your local, independent theater brings Crispin Glover to town for a Q and A, you support that local, independent theater.

Muu-Muu’s - 612 Northwest 21st Avenue Portland, OR 97209

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a muumuu as, “a loose often long dress having bright colors and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii.” Muu-Muu’s Restaurant and Bar on NW 21st Ave, however, can be defined using only one word: scrumptious. The friendly staff and romantic lighting, coupled with a decidedly eclectic menu makes Muu-Muu’s the non-Hawaiian themed Restaurant and Bar of the Nob Hill neighborhood.

One can’t really go wrong with the entire left side of the menu. From steak bites and seared wasabi tuna, to caprese salad and steak bites, to steak bites and steak bites, it can be difficult to decide what to order!  But fear not – at Muu-Muu’s, prices are so reasonable you won’t have to think twice about ordering all twenty items on the menu at once. I call that move “Muu-Muuing.” Do yourself a favor and drop by Muu-Muu’s late at night, the lovely staff and bespectacled barkeep will always treat you right. Also, sometimes they have a guy with huge dreadlocks who DJ’s, and by “DJ’s” I mean he selects songs from his laptop without crossfading them into one another. People come for the steak bites, but they stay for the steak bites.

Sammy’s Flowers - 2280 Northwest Glisan Street Portland, Oregon 97210

Sammy’s Flowers is a great local flower shop just up the street from Brooklyn Industries Portland that will always help you say just what you need to say, with flowers. The shop actually just moved into this new building with much more street visibility after extricating itself from the shadow of the local Trader Joe’s. They’re great for birthdays, anniversaries or let’s say, hypothetically, that you got yourself into a lovers quarrel and really need a big gesture to smooth things over. Well if that’s the case, then Sammy’s Flowers is the place!

And while you’re in Portland, come say “Hi!” to Miles and the gang at Brooklyn Industries Portland at 735 NW 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97210. 503-241-4898

Neighborhood Spotlight: Wicker Park

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Our Chicago store managers Rachel and Nicole take you on a tour of their favorite spots around N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.

The Wormhole1462 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Care for a shot of nostalgia with your coffee? This 80’s themed coffee shop is known for its awesome  Metropolis coffee creations, tasty treats and most of all… the tricked out DeLorean from Back to the Future!!!  I’m always impressed by their collection of metal lunch boxes featuring every show from the Muppets to Bill Cosby! My favorite thing about this kitsch coffee shop is by far the free bumper stickers! With catch phrases from movies, video games and pop culture, you’ll fall in love with “hermwoll”! Staff picks for drinks: Rocket Sauce, the Dragon Pearl Tea and the “dirty” Chai! -Rachel


Lomography Inc.-  1422 N. Milwaukee Ave. Before there was Instagram, there were Lomography cameras that kicked off the whole vintage-looking photo trend as far back as 2008. Until now in Chicago, you could only buy a Lomo camera at mostly specialty camera shops and some retail clothing locations. What is a Lomo camera? “Lomo” is the general word encompassing all toy film camera brands – Holga and Diana being the most widely-known of the group. This store offers different lens attachments such as fish-eye lenses, ring flashes, and an array of film types specifically for these cameras which mostly take wide, slightly-harder to find 120 film and can be rigged to use 35 mm film if you love the sprocket-hole look. Lomography Inc. boasts stores all over the world and we’re glad they’re finally in Chicago! Though it can be an expensive hobby, the warm and dreamy hues are worth it.  – Nicole  


Emporium Arcade Bar1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The name says it all! Booze + arcade games = adult dream come true! Boasting the largest pin ball machine collection in Chicago, this bar offers more than a “Tommy” good time. All the classic video games are here and are only a 25 cent token to play! Emporium offers a great selection of beer and whiskey, they don’t serve food but encourage you to BYO. Perfect place for a cheap date or just to hang out and feel like a kid again! Check it out on a weeknight cause Fridays and Saturdays this place is PACKED! (and that wasn’t a Pac-Man joke! Ok, maybe it was!) -Rachel

Antique Taco – 1360 N. Milwaukee

Husband and wife team started their snack-style taco restaurant as a marriage between their love of gourmet Mexican food and a place to display their antique collection. This is a place that immediately upon arriving, you take note of the décor and one might feel like they’re in a beautiful, albeit quaint small town with the country-style seating throughout and water with lemon served in Mason jars. My personal favorite on the menu is the Crispy Fish Tempura which has smoked cabbage, scallions, and Sriracha tartar sauce as toppings (2 tacos for $8). A must-visit before stopping into the new barcade right nearby, Emporium Arcade Bar. -Nicole

 While you’re in the neighborhood, visit Brooklyn Industries Chicago at 1426 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Neighborhood Spotlight – Greenpoint

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

It’s no secret that Greenpoint is one of our favorite neighborhoods to head to after work, so having a new Brooklyn Industries open up there is just another excuse for us to venture up the G. Our staff let’s you in on some of our most frequented Greenpoint spots:

Van Leeuwen 632 Manhattan Avenue

After crazy success with their cute, yellow, retro-fitted ice cream trucks which still roam around the city, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream opened their first real store on Greenpoint’s Manhattan Ave in 2010 – and what a beautiful place to be. If there ever was a guilt free ice cream, this is it.

Van Leeuwen uses fresh, hormone free milk and cream, free range eggs and strictly no preservatives or additives. Committed to minimizing their impact on the environment, all of their disposable goods (napkins, spoons, cups) are made from sugar cane and corn husks. VL has given each one of their specialty flavors extreme attention to detail to create their signature creamy, homemade taste. Their vanilla uses vanilla beans sourced from Papua New Guinea, which are soaked in vodka and aged in barrels. Their smoky pistachios are sourced from a little village by Mt. Etna in Sicily. They also serve great coffee and pastries and have special daily flavors – if you’re lucky enough to catch them before they run out. – Nikki

No.7 Sub 931 Manhattan Avenue 

Located on Manhattan Ave. between Java and Kent, No. 7 Sub offers an ever-changing menu, but the constant is the fresh daily baked bread from Caputo Bakery of Carroll Gardens and the crazy/tasty concoctions these guys come up with. Speaking as someone with severe food ADD, this place really hits the spot with combos like its currently available liverwurst number which consists of braised veggies, curry mayo, fresh garnishes and of course a highly desirable piece of liverwurst from Schaller & Weber.  Unlike its other outpost, the No.7 Sub in Greenpoint offers a full dining experience, i.e. seats and full bar. So if you’re into a hot sub with a cocktail, you’ll love this place. – Helena

Insound’s Warehouse 61 Greenpoint Ave Ste 225 

Kids these days have no idea how lucky they have it. Growing up in the suburbs in the late 80′s and early 90′s, if you got tired of listening to The Eagles Life in the Fast Lane for the 5000th time, the only access you had to good underground music was from the occasional mail order catalogue – or you had to stay up late on a school night on Sundays to catch MTV’s 120 Minutes. These days with just a click of the mouse, you can access well-curated online music stores like Insound, whose warehouse is located in the old Faber Pencil Factory on Greenpoint. Ave. Much like the building where BKI’s headquarters is located in, the Pencil Factory houses a bunch of great creative studios, including Design Sponge, and the studios of Alex Meyer, and Jessica Hische. Why spend your money on anonymous warehouses like Amazon’s, when you can support a company that has contributed to the great music community here in Brooklyn, helping out bands like The Rapture, Bright Eyes, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah become the big bands they are today. -Teddy

Upright Coffee 860 Manhattan Avenue

I’m a former Greenpoint resident and I can tell you I was pretty excited when Upright Coffee opened. As a confessed coffee snob, life is tough. Sure there are lots of “coffee shops” but once you’ve tasted heaven, it’s hard to pay the same price for just OK. Also Greenpoint doesn’t really have any straight up espresso bars unless you count Starbucks – which doesn’t count!!

So why do I like Upright? Well first they use Brooklyn Roasting coffee, which is located and roasted across the street from our office. I smell it all day… yum! Oh yeah and it’s really good. Second they make a really pro Americano. This is always my test. If you can make a delicious, creamy, smooth, not over extracted shot of espresso and mix it with water, heaven can occur. You mess it up and I will get a stomach ache and probably pour most of it out. It’s tricky! If you notice that they time their shots and reset their machines, you’re probably in the right spot.

I know I might sound a little neurotic but coffee is expensive these days and it makes you feel like a sucker when it tastes bad. I have never had this experience at Upright HOORAY! Also they have great pastries if you are into that kind of thing – and who isn’t? -Dale

Dandelion Wine 153 Franklin Street

In my neighborhood of Greenpoint, the crucial quest for wine or spirits does not require much scouting. No need for an internet search or a fancy phone app, just a little steam in the legs to take a walk around the corner and there is a visible place to buy booze. Even the local babusia enjoy a potent drink – I have seen them buying vodka in bulk (and in travel size!).

But if you are like me and have a guilty pleasure for a bottle of French Muscadet, California chardonnay, and the occasional glass of sparkling rosé the search can require a little extra legwork.  And thank Bacchus to have been guided to Dandelion Wines located on Franklin Ave, a short walk (or stumble) from my apartment on India St. No more awkward or cumbersome train rides with my shoulders bruised and weighed down by my bag filled with clinking bottles of wine.

Dandelion has shelves of awesome and exotic wines perched along its walls ready to be enjoyed! Most bottles are labeled with a lovingly hand written note highlighting it’s unique individual personality. The staff is very helpful, curious to hear about your needs and tastes to best guide you through their delectable libations. And… they host weekly tastings every Thursday eve with nibbles from neighboring food merchants, a great way to explore your palette and improve your social graces through the divine communion of wine. -Aaron

Anella 222 Franklin Street

Anella is a great go-to for low-key brunch or dinner with friends. On warm days you can enjoy the outdoors in their lovely shaded garden, or stay inside and enjoy the mellow ambience. No matter where you’re sitting you’ll enjoy the view, which is largely due to the great food, thoughtful décor and attentive staff. Their soft biscuit sandwiches and egg frittatas are particularly delicious, especially when accompanied by a frothy Iced Latte.  -Nancy

Visit BKI’s newest store at 658 Manhattan Ave.

In celebration of BKI Greenpoint, we are giving one lucky winner a limited edition BKI bag filled with gifts from these Greenpoint favorites. The winner will receive goodies worth an approximate value of $450 from:


Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn Industries

Dandelion Wine


No. 7 Subs

Upright Coffee

Van Lleeuwen Ice Cream

“Like Us” on Facebook and automatically enter to win! Click here to enter.


Neighborhood Spotlight: Williamsburg

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

above: Cotton Candy Machine

While this mecca of hip is more well known for its restaurant, bar, and music scene, Williamsburg is also home to some of the greatest shops in NYC, featuring unique craftwork, heavily-curated oddities, and amazing works of art. And cheese – lots and lots of cheese.

Cotton Candy Machine, 235 South 1st St.

No, they don’t sell cotton candy machines, but they do fire one up for art openings. What they do offer is an amazing array of prints, illustrations, books, and various toys from some of the most cutting edge artists around, many of which live right in the neighborhood. Opened by Tara McPherson and Sean Leonard, the store showcases much of McPherson’s work in the space where her studio used to reside. A stuffy boutique, this is not – the owners are some of the most gregarious and enthusiastic people you’ll meet in your life, and will gladly guide you through all the work they have in their store. Not only is their enthusiasm genuine and inspiring, they also make sure that their wares are accessible, offering affordable prints of some of the pricier oil paintings. And who knows, if you ask nicely, they might even offer you up some cotton candy. -Teddy

Earwax Records, 218 Bedford Avenue

Considering what a hang out Williamsburg has become, you would think there would be more record stores… right? Earwax reminds me of the small indie stores I used to hang out at as a teen. They have a great eclectic selection especially considering the size of the store, with a little of everything, including jazz, blues, experimental, indie, and electronic. It’s not too big, but they have all the cool necessities to get you started on or to complete a collection. They also have a nice vinyl section too; I bought a Hawkwind reissue there – hooray! Where else are you gonna find that?! This record store is curated like a gallery. They give you a well-rounded presentation of the best music throughout the decades. They also have sale and a used section so check it out next time your in the hood! -Dale

Bedford Cheese Shop, 229 Bedford Avenue

Even though I’m lactose intolerant, I cannot avoid a trip to the Bedford Cheese Shop every once in awhile. I have won the hearts of many at a party, offering gifts of their über delectable cheeses and fine cured meats. Leaving empty handed is not easy when physically weakened by all of the edible displays of sorted international cheeses, each catalogued with amusing and playful descriptions.

Their informative staff are genuinely helpful and are more than willing to tempt you with freshly sliced samples. But wait there’s more! They also carry a variety of sweets – marzipan candy bars, fresh caramels, jams and tart curds, bottled olive oils, vinegars, and pickled vegetables shelved like apothecary tonics (fitting since the store was once a pharmacy).  During the summertime, they carry one of my favorite childhood treats, a chocolate-covered, oatmeal cream sandwich called “IT’S-IT” from my hometown San Francisco. It’s the care and thought that goes into the product that makes this one of my favorite Williamsburg destinations. -Aaron

Baked In Brooklyn, 242 Wythe Ave

Embrace your inner five year old at Baked In Brooklyn, a ceramic painting studio that’s also conveniently BYOB in the evenings. At this marvelous addition to the hood, you get to pick out your own plain ceramic piece, decorate it to your heart’s content and get your creative juices flowing with a bottle of wine. Pieces to paint start from $5, and on average, most plates, mugs, or cups cost about $15-$20, so you can find whatever suits you and make something cool for your apartment, boyfriend, mother, or cat. They fire and glaze it there and you can pick it up a week later. Do something different next weekend and come home with an experience to remember. -Nikki

Junk, 197 North 9th St.

If you ever find yourself wandering around Williamsburg thinking, “I sure could use a vintage clown lamp,” then head to Junk. Unlike the plethora of vintage clothing stores in the area, Junk sells exactly what its name suggests. Reminiscent of a hoarder’s basement meets flea market, you are bound to find a number of unique items –albeit covered in dirt and dust.
While their offerings can range from a vintage place settings, furniture, plastic toys, buttons, old magazines and knick-knacks, I often find myself getting lost sifting through their bins of old photographs. After one particularly lengthy dig, I came across several photos of the same house taken over the course of the last century by different owners – creepy, yet fascinating. Next time you need a chair, a matchbook cover, or salt and pepper shakers, skip the Swedish-made fiberboard products and opt for something more sturdily built with a 30 year old patina at Junk. -Meagan

The City Reliquary, 370 Metropolitan Avenue

One of New York’s most endearing and unique qualities is its constantly changing landscape.  It is the reason why many of us live here and yet, at the same time, it imposes upon us a curious fascination to understand and experience New York’s past.  For anyone who has spent time watching old movies that were filmed in New York just to see a snapshot of the city’s past, or who relishes a spontaneous and momentary glimpse of an old subway or store sign that has somehow escaped banishment into complete obscurity, the City Reliquary is the perfect way to indulge in the rediscovery of old New York. The small space makes maximum use of its walls with displays of old photos and objects of New York’s past, from old souvenirs of the World’s Fair, to leftover pieces from old subway cars, to an entertaining story about Little Egypt, New York’s most famous belly dancer at the turn of the century.  The City Reliquary is quite small and perfect for taking a short break from shopping or as follow-up to a weekend brunch. -Nancy

While you’re in Williamsburg, stop by our original store at Bedford and N.8th, and our Outlet store at Broadway and Driggs.

Hidden Gems In & Around Union Square

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

While more commonly known as a thoroughfare rather than a destination, there are a few great spots in and around Union Square that definitely warrant a peek up from the subway station. Here are a few of some of our staff’s favorite places to stop and smell the chorizo, tea, produce, comics, and more…

Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, 56 Irving Place
For those who have caught the Downton Abbey bug, get some early 20th Century R&R inside the Inn at Irving Place where you will find Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon. At $35 for a 5-course “meal”, you and your friends can take turns playing Lady Grantham while sipping tea and eating tiny sandwiches and pastries. Be sure to look the part, otherwise you may feel out of place in this Victorian-furnished salon in your skinny jeans. -Helena

Partners & Spade, 40 Great Jones Street
Since I’ve always liked places on the fringe, my favorite spot to wander lies just south of Union Square. Tucked away on the small side street Great Jones, is Partners & Spade, a small shop that acts as a design studio, art gallery, and a space for collections of curios. Last time I went, I saw a cabinet labeled “pistachio shells” and was delighted when I opened it to find it full of pistachio shells. I always love taking out of town design-o-philes here because it seems like places like this only exist in NYC. Check out their website for their great branding work, including J.Crew’s Liquor Store, or pick up some of their whimsical, self-published books with titles like Medical Professionals Smoking, a picture book of – you guessed it, medical professionals smoking. -Teddy

Union Square Greenmarket, Union Square Park
I can only make it there on Saturdays but it’s soooo worth it. It’s best to go early. Once the weather is nice the place gets mobbed with shoppers and tourists who are only interested in taking pictures of the food that I’m trying to buy. I go with a game plan – go early, and buy all the bulky, heavy stuff first to put on the bottom of the bag so that the lighter, squishier stuff can sit on top – ingenious I know! One of these days, I’m going to invest in a high tech “old lady” cart as they make the most sense but you really have to be secure with your self-image to rock one.  My favorite stands are the mushroom lady and the apple cider doughnut people (word!)  -Dale

Boqueria Tapas Bar, 53 W.19th
Feeling friendly and chatty? A few blocks away from the Union Square market sits Boqueria Tapas Bar, named after the famous market in Barcelona. Whether sitting at a hightop table in the front of the restaurant or squeezing up to the bar for a bite of the Rosemary Manchego cheese plate, it’s the perfect place to get chatty. The cozy seating and ample pitchers of sangria ease you into conversation with complete strangers. I love taking my out-of-town friends here, as the friendly clientele quickly dispel the “Rude New Yorker” stereotype our home can often have. The must order is their Coles de Bruselas y Chorizo, which are caramalized brussel sprouts that would change any mini-cabbage hater’s mind. I also love that Boqueria is a Green Certified Restaurant, using local and eco-friendly products. -Meagan

Forbidden Planet Comics, 840 Broadway
I am a bit of a geek, and I have come to terms with this. I have checked the boxes and scored high on the geek quiz. Yes, I like video game RPGs, yes I have been to a couple Ren-Fair’s, and yes I used to collect pewter Dragon and Wizard figurines in my early teens. While I might not share those small details on a first date, I proudly admit to being a devoted comic book and graphic novel reader. For those of you seeking to find a great escape, please take a step into the very cool Forbidden Planet. Wander the shelves and discover complex contemporary mythologies and beautifully illustrated literary lore. There are all sorts of comics for the adventurous reader. Besides mutants and magic, you can encounter strange parallel worlds where even the most ordinary individual is destined to become a hero/heroine.

And in case you were wondering, I’m still waiting for my latent mutant powers to kick in. -Aaron

Fishs Eddy, 889 Broadway
What’s not to love about a place that looks like a perpetual Mad Hatter’s tea party? Fishs Eddy is a perfect storm of objects both practical and whimsical, which means there’s always an excuse to go in. On my last visit, I went in looking for a pair of salad tongs and walked out with tongs and a fluorescent yellow cake stand. Now all I need is a pretty cake to go with it. -Nancy

While you’re in the neighborhood, swing by and say hello to us at our Union Square location at 801 Broadway.

Neighborhood Spotlight: DUMBO

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Since relocating our headquarters to the old waterfront neighborhood of DUMBO – home to a large number of design studios and creative businesses, we’ve discovered numerous gems hidden in this often overlooked part of Brooklyn. Our team shares some of our favorite finds.

Jane’s Carousel , Brooklyn Bridge Park

Along the East River where the DUMBO and the Manhattan skyline almost kiss is the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Jane’s Carousel, a glass encased, refurbished carousel. This riverside stretch is a great spot for me and my fellow BK Industrialists to have impromptu open-air lunches and afternoon strolls. The scenic vista of the city seems within arm’s reach, framed by both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Having a ride on this historic landmark gives me a feeling of naïve whimsy, a feeling important to my personal creative process. A perfect day should ideally come to end with a spin around this magical merry-go-round. –Aaron

Zacca, 155 Plymouth Street

Be forewarned design nerds, this place will eat you up alive, and leave you with empty pockets. This Japanese-based boutique carries a wonderfully curated collection of graphic design, fashion, illustration, and architecture books and magazines, and an eclectic array of Japanese toys and art. The shop also doubles as an events space for art exhibitions and experimental showcases. It’s always a great space for me to visit when I need some added design inspiration. – Teddy

Modern Anthology, 68 Jay Street

Modern Anthology is a cleverly curated “man cave” that the owner describes as “less beer keg, more scotch”. Male or female, this is a great little shop catering to those with a creative sensibility. You can find everything from vintage Chesterfield couches, to taxidermy jackalopes, to old school umbrellas with wooden duck handles. It’s a perfect place for presents or a gift for yourself – or you might just want to move into this nicely decorated shop! – Nikki

Brooklyn Roasting Company, 25 Jay Street

Live, Work, Create is impossible for me without the fuel of coffee. It used to be hard to find a non Starbucks cup in the neighborhood, until Brooklyn Roasting Company moved across the street. HOORAY! They roast small batches from around the world, in house. The smell of roasting has greatly enhanced the neighborhood and my mood. If you’re on a budget just buy a ten dollar a pound bag and make it in the office. –Dale

St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street

St Ann’s Warehouse is one of the most innovative venues in existence for live performance art and international theater, and their home has been right here in DUMBO for the past 30 years. My first St Ann’s experience was in 2006, when I saw Lou Reed perform his Berlin album on a set designed by Julian Schabel. The stunning visuals, combined with the nearly once in a lifetime opportunity to hear Berlin performed live, left a remarkable on me. I’ve since had many more memorable experiences, from a Polish production of Macbeth with crazy special effects in the open-air setting of the ruins of the DUMBO tobacco warehouse, to Karen O’s psycho opera Stop the Virgens, where each element, from costumes, to set design, to music, could have stood alone as its own individual and stunning work of art.  Up next is Daniel Kitson. Can’t wait! -Nancy

68 Jay Street Bar, 68 Jay Street

What’s work without after work happy hour! 68 Jay Street is our favorite end of the workday spot, where you can pull up a stool (or table to sit on when it’s busy during happy hour) and enjoy good conversation with coworkers, locals, or the friendly bartenders. Spend some dollars on the rotating art, or just three dollars for a happy hour Brooklyn Lager.

While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by our DUMBO store and say hello.