In the famous tale of Rapunzel, a young woman becomes pregnant, and as a result of her prenatal cravings for the Rapunzel plant—a close relative of the radish family—growing in the confines of a walled garden next door to her home, enlists her husband to sneak over the fence each night and gather a bundle for her. In the end though, her desire for the tasty radish results in her demise—she is discovered to be stealing from the garden, and is punished by the crone who lives there. Lucky for Williamsburg residents, now you can get your Repunzel fix without having to give up your first born child. Or even compromise a sunny summer afternoon in McCarren Park.
Welcome to Radish, a brand new seasonal prepared foods shop located smack dab in the center of Williamsburg’s main drag at 158 Bedford Avenue. Featuring fresh, homemade local and seasonal foods, Radish is a one-stop shop for park-bound picnickers—at least for the summer season.
“We were really inspired by that Rapunzel image from the old Brothers Grimm fairy tale,” Marks said. “All those old line drawings of girls foraging through the forest, with baskets of fresh produce.”
Like its namesake—there is always a different variety of radish in season no matter what month of the year—Radish will change its menu and offerings based on the time of year, while always offering its signature radish salad.
“For the summer, we’re focusing on food to go,” explained co-owner Amy Marks. “We want to really take advantage of the foot traffic, of people walking to McCarren Park.”
The modestly sized shop is stocked to the brim—albeit impeccably organized—with cheeses, spreads, jams, specialty cured meats and freshly baked breads from three different bakeries throughout the city. Radish even stocks dog biscuits, made from recycled Dogfish Brewery grain. Marks and her partner, Laura Migliozzi, have made a point of sourcing as locally as possible, collecting product from local growers and producers and drawing inspiration from the fast-paced culture of Greenpoint/Williamsburg and its thoroughfares.
“We sell as many locally-made products as possible,” Marks said. “This is something the neighborhood really needs. There are so many great, cheap restaurants in Williamsburg and Greenpoint and we wanted to marry the inventiveness and fun of high-quality foods with takeout culture.”
The two co-owners met working in the financial sector, roughly four years ago. Both had always loved cooking, eating and preparing meals, and decided to open the kind of shop that would encourage customers to take an interest in what they’re eating. Radish is certainly such a place—every season, Marks and Migliozzi plan to create and display a different chart of in-season fruits and vegetables, many of which will be featured in the prepared foods for sale at the counter.
“It’s very important to us to educate our customers about what’s in season and what they should be eating,” Migliozzi said. She also explained the importance of creating a homey and welcoming atmosphere inside the shop: the wood was lifted from old high school bleachers, the brackets for shelving from shipping pallets, the shelves themselves are old baking racks.
Over the summer, Radish will open a window counter to sell sandwiches and homemade sodas to passersby.
“Everything here is home-made, and we want people to pick up on that.”