New York City Guide: Williamsburg
Quilt woman, Kristin Ornelas moved from her quiet home in Venice Beach, CA to the bustling Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg based on the deep sense of community she felt after exploring the city. Since moving over the summer, Kristin has taken a deep dive into the city and wants to share with us her guide to the city! Check out her favorite spots for a caffeine fix, design inspiration and - of course - all the delicious food.
Welcome to Williamsburg! I hold a deep connection to creating community and including you! Williamsburg provides all the creative avenues I love through attending live music shows, dancing, great eats and outdoor adventures! I want to share some of the places I’ve discovered thus far for those that want to explore my fave BK borough, thinking about moving, or potentially want to walk over the bridge from Manhattan to visit....and come say hi to me, too!
Design & Home
Beam Brooklyn: If your design aesthetic leans towards fun, modern or colorfully curious Beam is your spot to find curated designs and accessories. The co-owner, Greg, along with his pups will welcome you to the store and assist in aligning your design vision.
Dyphor Brooklyn: Have a passion for flair? I recommend walking along Wythe to Dyphor. The showroom holds one of a kind accessories, custom built furniture and an array of designer inspiration.
Sprout Home: Calling all plant parents! Sprout Home is your place to find that next fiddle-leaf fig tree, succulent or special terrarium masterpiece. The crew at Sprout on Grand Street are extremely knowledgeable and have
Devocion: Devocion holds everything that makes a pour over fan like me happy! From proper measure, great design aesthetic and even the option of cozy leather couch seating. The building holds history from what was a working waterfront neighborhood to now being a great destination. The plant wall and windowed ceiling create great lighting for IG photo ops. I recommend going to Devocion to meet friends for coffee, solo time to catch up on a great read or grabbing a cup before heading to Sprout Home mentioned above. This coffee spot continues to put a smile on my face and keep me fueld.
Freehold Freehold: is coffee shop fused with co-working then takes you into evening programming. Stay for awhile or pick-up your favorite beverage. Dogs welcome!
Jane Motorcycles: Jane is a motorcycle shop and espresso bar. The crew here is fantastic and your pups are welcomed...sometimes even preferred over human counterparts. They offer CBD add ons and you’re likely to strike up conversation with one of the wonderful regulars and become one, too!
Norman at A/D/O: Norman inside A/D/O holds a seasonal menu and excellent coffee bar with communal tables for meetings and co-working. This space is powered by Mini where Williamsburg meets Greenpoint. Check the calendar ahead of time to confirm the space isn’t on a buyout that day for events. A/D/O also holds valued art exhibitions. Such a treasure for creating inspo in the community.
As we all know, brunch is basically a sporting event in NYC. I recommend the following spots for brunch in Williamsburg as all are great for groups or a date brunch as well!
Cafe Mogador: Cafe Mogador opened its doors in the East Village originally and this gem on Wythe keeps the community smiling with its Moroccan-inspired fare and interior vibes. I also love this spot for late night dining post concerts.
Sunday in Brooklyn: Sunday in Brooklyn has an excellent cocktail menu and divine interior! For those that appreciate all things gluten, I recommend the maple cheddar biscuit and malted pancakes. For those that don’t, the smoked salmon plate is my go to with gluten-free toast!
Diner: Have you ever eaten in a retro railcar? I recommend doing so at Diner. The seasonal menu and good vibes make for a unique dining experience.
Misi: Treat yourself or book a date night at Misi! Misi is the handmade pasta restaurant created by the chef of famed Lilia. You know this place is delicious when I, being allergic to gluten, still like to frequent due to the protein and vegetable antipasti dishes. The artichoke and eggplant dishes are divine along with wine list. For the gluten lovers, I am told that the pastas are light and out of this world delicious. Make a reservation in advance or arrive prior to the 5:30pm open to wait in line for day of seating.
Ume: In the mood for sushi? Ume is deconstructed omakase in a traditional setting. You will walk into the lobby and be greeted by the host. Taken into another room to remove shoes (so wear socks), and wash your hands in preparation for your meal. The sushi chefs are top notch - a sensory experience with a range of selected international salts and condiments to heighten the palate. The menu is seasonal so definitely inquire when you call for a booking. Make sure to meet, Linda, the creative founder as well who designs the beautiful menu, too!
Fornino Williamsburg: I wish this place wasn’t so close to where I live because I definitely eat their gluten-free pizza at least once a week! Fornino Williamsburg delivers on their gluten-free crust as it is crunchy (not that flat rice crust) and feels like authentic NYC pizza! They even have a great lunch special, too! All the pizzas are great, but I particularly love the Lombardi with arugula and prosciutto.
Fun Food & Wine Stops
North 3rd Street Market: This indoor food hall holds varying food vendors so options for everyone and with winter weather a great place to take kids as well to run around. Close proximity to Nitehawk Cinemas, too! I enjoy Jajaja (actual restaurant in Chinatown/LES), Kalamaki Mediterranean, and Lucy’s Flowers creates beautiful arrangements. Definitely support this market concept. There are also unique pop-up vendors selling goods.
Bedford Cheese Shop: Enjoy cheese? Then go directly to Bedford Cheese Shop. The selection is top notch and I always receive compliments when I host and create charcuterie boards because of the team at Bedford’s help with cheese curation.
Dandy Wine and Spirits: David and Lily have created a gem with Dandy Wine and Spirits on South 4th. This is my go to place to select wines for dinner parties and they host tastings Wednesday and Friday evenings beginning at 6pm. They also offer free local delivery, which is phenomenal! Look for the pink neon bowtie signage and you’ll find the meca for wine!
Gelateria Gentile: Stop everything and get to Gelateria Gentile on Wythe for gelato and sorbeto! The kindest family owns this establishment that started in Bari, Italy back in 1880 and made a USA debut in Williamsburg over the summer. You will not have another gelato like it unless you head to Italy! #promise
Yo BK: is a hot yoga and mat pilates studio that will kick your arse and have you coming back for more! My favorite is the Inferno Pilates class that is a fusion of pilates meets HIIT. I love that you feel comfortable in your skin here! I recommend you bring two towels, one for your mat and one for after class! Definitely bring a change of clothes because you will end class drenched! Namaste!
5th Wall Studio: I love to dance and try new forms of movement for self-expression. When I moved to Williamsburg I saw 5th Wall Studio signage as I was walking the neighborhood and immediately booked a “flying dance” class. The team at 5th Wall are creative, professional and make class oh so much fun! Definitely check out the schedule! I recommend booking with a few friends as well!
Outdoors North Brooklyn Farms: Situated along Kent Avenue adjacent to Domino Park, North Brooklyn Farms, provides that happy green space amongst the brick buildings. The farm holds community dinners (check out their calendar for events) and a great place to collect your thoughts or meditate. I use this space as place to journal and connect with fellow neighbors in volunteering as well. For those with kids, there is a skate park you can pay to use, too.
Domino Park: Domino Park is along the East River water in Williamsburg surrounding the historic Domino Sugar Factory. Domino Park is the perfect spot to gather friends during the warmer months to sunbathe, picnic, schedule using the bocce courts or even beach volleyball court (sand included)! The park offers Danny Meyer’s new taco concept Tacocina as well! I recommend going online to check out the weekend fitness programming the park offers as well from neighborhood workout studios.
I appreciate and support the arts in all forms from theatre, dance shows, art exhibitions and live music. You’ll find me at a live music show minimum once a week be it the local cafe that hosts jazz or a larger venue. Here is a list of excellent places in Williamsburg to tap into the music scene and support musicians on the local level or international. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more information on each and my music schedule!
Blank Bistro Williamsburg: on Broadway hosts a live jazz set the last Friday of each month and it’s so relaxing! Highly recommend grabbing a drink and staying for the set.
Words + Images by Kristin Ornelas
Leadership Consultant & Founder of Founder ROI