180 FRANKLIN ST.
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Hours Monday-Wednesday 7am-11pm
Thursday, Friday 7am-12am
Saturday 8am-12am Sunday 8am-4pm
Sunday is the first day of the week, a chance for a new beginning. What better way to start out a new week than with a big Sunday Brunch? If you are in Greenpoint, you owe it to yourself to find your way to Brooklyn Label, one of the best places for brunch in the city. Their delicious breakfast/brunch menu was nominated for Time Out NY's 2007 Eat Out Award, recognizing the quality cuisine the Greenpoint coffee house has to offer.
Located on the corner of Java and Franklin, Brooklyn Label is in the heart of Greenpoint, a stone's throw away from the East River and the subway stop at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue. The atmosphere is of a bustling coffee shop, but Brooklyn Label has the best food of any coffee shop to which I've ever been.
The owner, Cody Utzman, came to New York three years ago with the intention of opening a restaurant. He was living on the Lower-East side and quickly realized that would not be a good fit. Some friends of his turned him onto Greenpoint, and he quickly fell in love with the neighborhood. Not only did he choose the area to open a restaurant, he moved here too. He wanted to open a restaurant that could keep up with the influx of young people into Greenpoint, like himself. "Really what it comes down to is what does the neighborhood need? A lot of the services in the neighborhood haven't caught up with all the new people moving into the neighborhood. Most places shut down around 9-10 o'clock. We're open from 7 in the morning until Midnight 7 days a week."
The opening of Brooklyn Label did more than add a great new coffee house to the neighborhood. All of the employees are Greenpoint residents, and the vast majority of the food Brooklyn Label prepares comes from local businesses such as the Rseszokow Bakery, and the Polish Meat Market next to the Garden on Manhattan Ave.Brooklyn Label opened on January 2nd of this year. One Sunday in March, they decided to serve a special brunch menu. Without advertising it at all, 170 people came in that Sunday. That inspired Utzman and his chefs to make the brunch menu a permanent institution. Now they serve 500 people every Sunday, and their brunch menu caught the attention of the editors of Time Out NY magazine nominating Brooklyn Label for their 2007 Eat Out, Best Brunch/Breakfast Award.
When it came time to order, I had a very difficult time deciding between the French toast, made with locally baked Rseszokow challah bread, lots of pure casmian cinnamon, cranberry-pecan butter and pure maple syrup, and the waffles, which come topped with fresh seasonal fruit, pulugra butter, pure maple syrup and fresh whipped cream. I ultimately chose the French toast with a cup of coffee, and I was not disappointed.
Although it was rich, the French toast was delicious. It was light even though there were two thick slices of challah. The cranberry-pecan butter added a nice fruit presence while still maintaining the meal's sweet flavor. If you get bored eating only French toast, side dishes of fruit, hash-browns, eggs, bacon, and sausage are all on the menu, but I could not imagine eating anything more than the two massive, rich slices of French toast.
The girl sitting next to me at the bar seemed to be enjoying the "Brooklyn Label Granola" which includes toasted organic oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, raisins, chopped walnuts, and sunflower seeds served over yogurt or milk. If you get to Brooklyn Label late and are only in the mood for lunch, the brunch menu has chili, soup, and a cheeseburger to offer as well.
Possibly the best thing about going to Brooklyn Label for breakfast or brunch is the full coffee bar. If you need an espresso, cappuccino, laté, or any other specialty caffeinated beverage to wake yourself up on a hung-over Sunday morning, you can get it at Brooklyn Label. Or if a regular cup of Jo is all you want you can get a bottomless cup of the house blend for two dollars.
While Brooklyn Label is not cheap, my meal came to 15 dollars with the tip; you get what you pay for. You're not going to find gourmet food and coffee like this at some greasy spoon diner where you can get Sunday brunch and coffee for a few dollars. Brooklyn Label is a destination for a nice meal in a relaxed café atmosphere where the food and coffee is gourmet. When I was there at 2pm, it was packed, but a table shouldn't be more than a ten minute wait.
I had fairly high expectations for Brooklyn Label, and they were exceeded. If you want to make your mouth water you can check out their menu on their website at BrooklynLabel.com. The brunch menu is their pride and joy, but their lunch/dinner menu has all kinds of appetizing salads and sandwiches. I highly recommend Brooklyn Label for brunch on Sunday, breakfast any other day of the week, or a late anytime. They have free Wi-Fi internet access, and they serve food from 7am until 12 midnight. It's only a short walk from the Subway stop, and it's even worth dealing with the G train.