kitchen inspiration: brooklyn restaurants

So while in NYC last weekend I went to both Rye and Walter – the latter which is a mere 10 blocks from where my grandmother’s father’s restaurant once stood. In the ummm, many, many hours I sat at the bar at Walter ordering drinks and oysters with Vivi & Joe, I started thinking about how much I like the aesthetic & how great it would be to remodel a kitchen in that vein. Visions of white marble countertops and black and white marble floors and huge potted palms and dark wood and hanging pendant globe lamps and white linen and silver salt and pepper shakers ran through my head and suddenly I remembered I’m not a trazillionaire and reined it in. But still. It’s sitting there in the back of my mind.

These images are from my great-grandfather’s restaurant, the Bon Ton, at DeKalb & Steuben. He’s the fella on the far right in the top photo, and the blur in the middle in the bottom one. When time traveling is invented, this is one of the first places I’m going, to hang out with my grandma as a little girl, sitting on barstools eating graham crackers and kicking her feet until her father sent her back upstairs.

Click for Polyvore set / item links.


  1. The Bon Ton looks like a blast! I love that gleaming espresso machine in the second picture. I bet their coffee was really on point.

    We have a restaurant around here called “Red Stripe” and it has a very similar aesthetic but is always so bustling that it looses a lot of the charm.

  2. Penny tile. Tin Roof. Wooden bistro chairs. Ferns. Mirrors. Drooling…. these are on the cheaper side.

    Check out that white tablecloth and their starched collars. So formal! What was the menu, I wonder?

    1. Probably VERY German/Dutch – she was partial to ox tail soup and things like pigs feet – yuckkkkk. But check out the huge boxes of cornflakes, and she really did go downstairs to bug her dad for graham crackers until he made her scram. Crazy, for how formal it seems to us – probably just average then!

    2. True about the formality. I wonder if people who ate out then were much more rich than average. I bet so! Since the people who were around the neighborhood were the rich people who came out of Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge, finished in 1883!

  3. These are amazing photos. Isn’t it great that NY holds onto its history and keeps up this esthetic? I just moved to Brooklyn and pleased to have exposed brick, dark wood molding, tin ceilings (in the kitchen) and hard wood floors throughout my flat. I actually just moved from Oakland, CA in November. I should have said hello the one time I saw you in Berkeley! My partner Cris and I were getting into my little white VW Squareback when you were going into Crisca. Anyway, I have been to both Rye and Walter Foods, mainly for drinks because their menus are very heavy with meat. Unfortunately one lifestyle that NYers are not giving up! It seems like food choices are stuck in the past century. All I have eaten at both of these places are the veg sides, usually brussel sprouts! Aesthetically, you might also like Hotel Delmano or Cafe Colette.

    1. Yay moving East! Are you from here, or? I dreamed I would live in NYC but it looks like that’s not happening! Maybe an extended sublet sometime!

      I want to check out Hotel Delmano – now that I’m on the east coast it’s super easy to get down there.

  4. I love these photos! I’m so jealous – I don’t have any photos of my great grandmother’s restaurant. And these are just grand: the ceilings and the floor tile and the columns and the marble and the crisp white tablecloths… sigh. This looks like all my favorite restaurants in downtown LA that have been rehabbed from turn of the 20th century.

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