Ella Café 177 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211
Ella Cafe is one of the many cafe’s located at Bedford Avenue. As you walk into the cafe, you immediately notice the “openness” of the place. The place can be best described as simple and refreshing. The restaurant leads to an open terrace where people can enjoy their food and the environment at the same time. The owner of the place claims that he was one of the “first” cafe’s on the block, an original, so to speak.
Ella’s serves Mediterranean and Asian food. When asked what sort of customers they cater to, the owner said that they cater to anyone who appreciates quality food. The ingredients they use are mostly organically grown and they utilize biodegradable materials in order to be more environmentally friendly. Because of this, the food is quite expensive, the prices ranging from $12 to $15 for a sandwich.
The owner claimed that he named his restaurant “Ella” because if he had a third child, he would have also named the child Ella. He pointed out to us that a few years ago, there was a protest to prevent Starbucks from opening at Bedford Avenue. The protest was successful and Bedford Avenue continues to be free of Starbucks. When asked whether he sees Starbucks as competition, he confidently replied that he doesn’t. He also pointed out that there are a lot more Europeans and young working class families that are moving into Williamsburg. Through our observations, we noticed that this cafe actually caters specifically to the younger population. They are also composed of mainly white Americans. When asked about what he likes about Williamsburg, he said that, “the people are friendly” and it “reminded him of the West Village 15 years ago.”
Radish 158 Bedford (between 8th and 9th Street) Brooklyn, NY 11211
We visited Radish twice within the past four weeks. During the first visit, we interviewed a male cashier. When asked why the name of the restaurant is Radish, he responded that the name was chosen because it reflects the type of food that is served to the customers. The food is all organic but what differentiates Radish from other organic restaurants is that the menu, like the radish, is seasonal. The foods offered on the menu are dependent upon what types of vegetables are in season.
In Bedford, most of the restaurants are Mom and Pop shops: there aren’t any big food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King (though we did find one Subway restaurant). For the cashier, he said that the lack of these food chains is actually better for the neighborhood, he does not think that the neighborhood missed out. Radish has loyal customers and the business even implemented a loyalty card to reward them. By loyal customers he means people who come in to order food everyday or every week.
The second person we interviewed also worked the cash register. She has been in Williamsburg since August 2011. She was attracted to the neighborhood because there is so much to do: there are a lot of foods available and places to shop. She is in her early twenties and currently attends Hunter College as a junior and an Anthropology major. She is originally from Rockland County near NYACK Christian College. According to her, there was an ice cream shop established here before Radish. The customers they cater to are the health conscious because the prices are slightly higher than neighboring restaurants.
When asked about the people who apply for jobs at Radish, she replied that most people do have bachelor degrees or have gone to culinary school. They take these jobs for the experience. She continued to explain that “catering is a different world, there is constant movement and good marketing with different people.”