As a Brooklyn-based business, we love our local community. ARCHITECTURAL GRILLE is proud to operate out of Gowanus, and this neighborhood is what it is in part thanks to the small businesses that have made this place home. Here, we’ve highlighted five of our favorites — places we loved to frequent pre-pandemic and have been going out of our way to continue to support during these challenging times — along with what makes them special. Check them out next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Brooklyn Boulders (a.k.a. BKB) in Gowanus is a climbing gym with a difference. This indoor rock-climbing center offers a range of walls to match any skill level. It’s been home to a community of climbers in Brooklyn since 2009, when it was the first indoor climbing gym in New York City.
BKB welcomes first-time climbers with special recommendations to get you climbing, as well as climbing classes, fitness guides, and a youth program. They also offer a sliding scale of membership fees so that climbers of every budget can access the walls. Find out more at the Brooklyn Boulders website, and see example climbs on their Instagram page.
The multitasking folks at Runner & Stone offer the Gowanus community and beyond all the services of a wholesale and retail bakery, as well as a restaurant and bar. Co-owners and co-founders chef Chris Pizzulli and baker Peter Endriss have created a welcoming hideaway where all the breads and pastries are baked in-house using local whole grain flours, dairy, and fruit.
In normal times, Runner & Stone serves up sandwiches, soups, and salads for eat-in or takeaway at lunch times, while dinner sees plates focusing on vegetables and house-made pasta. Right now, due to COVID-19, the restaurant and bakery is offering to-go options including fresh pasta (!). Check them out at their website and Instagram page.
Ugly Baby is one of the best Thai places in Brooklyn, if not the whole of New York City. Expect spicy and filling dishes we promise are worth it! The award-winning chefs here plate up delicious servings of dishes from all over Thailand. Soups, dumplings, seafood, duck salad, rice rolls, curries, and more fill a menu which will give you decision fatigue — but the expert staff can certainly help you pick dishes to your taste. There’s also an extensive beer list and wine list, ready to pair with anything you choose.
You might have seen the colorful mural outside our favorite bookshop somewhere on Instagram. Books are Magic is a lovely store offering curated selections of the hottest new book releases and must-have golden oldies. The Books are Magic website lists suggestions of what to read by topic, put together by some of the most knowledgeable booksellers around.
From its opening in 2017 to today, Books are Magic has quickly grown to become a mainstay of the Brooklyn community. There is a calming, ordered, yet fun vibe to the store that welcomes lovers of books of all kinds, from the most informative non-fiction and touching poetry to entertaining fiction and bestsellers. The store also has a compelling list of events for adults and kids (virtual right now due to COVID-19, but just as lively as ever!). Follow their Instagram page for news about new releases, events, and more.
Sometimes you just have a hankering for BBQ, and we’ve found the perfect spot right in our own community. This barn-sized restaurant has space for all to enjoy its smoked meats by the half-pound along with wings, ribs, tacos, and sandwiches. There’s also wood-fired chicken and several inventive vegetarian options for those so inclined.
Enjoy a tray of some of the best BBQ we’ve found in the city, and then, if you can fit it in, finish with a delicious banana cream pudding. The team at Hometown BBQ is currently doing takeaway and outdoor seating. It might be chilly outside, but this is food that will warm you from the inside. Find out more, including a full menu and details about their Super Bowl Tailgate Party Menu at their website, and get your mouth watering on their Instagram page.