Greenpoint Gazette

“Texas in Williamsburg”

BY James Yeh

El Beit and Egg to Open New Locations on North 3rd Street

With a slew of new businesses and storefronts over the past few years—including the recently expanded Radegast Hall and Biergarten, custom bicycle builders Horse Bicycles, and used book dealers Book Thug Nation—North 3rd Street is Williamsburg’s most rapidly growing street. If Berry Street could be thought of as “Little Bedford,” then North 3rd is quickly transforming into “Little North 6th.”

It’s a trend that is continuing, if not escalating. Two Williamsburg favorites—coffee shop El Beit and Southern comfort food restaurant Egg—will soon be opening second locations on the same stretch of North 3rd Street, between Berry and Wythe.

“That neighborhood is awesome right now,” said Ky Katrensky, manager of El Beit, the two-year-old gourmet coffee shop that is a staple for so many coffee aficionados, local freelancers and tourists along Bedford Avenue. “There are so many new buildings going up.”

The new El Beit location, which looks to open in the next two months, promises more food (light Mediterranean fare), wine and beer offerings. Although there won’t be a garden like their first location on Bedford, the new space will be roughly twice as big. Also, Katrensky says, with the expanded space, the new location on North 3rd will be hosting cuppings and free coffee tasting events for the public.

Egg’s situation is equally exciting, though, at the moment, less defined. According to Egg founder George Weld, details on their new location, tentatively named Parish Hall, are “still fuzzy.” But some things are certain. “Our goal is to do some of the same stuff we’ve done at Egg at dinner, but expand on it,” he said over a phone interview. “We really want to focus on [their] farm upstate and make it a showcase. To still have one foot in the traditions in the South but also be looking pretty hard at the Hudson Valley, especially for ingredients.”

“The fuzziest thing is, we don’t when it’ll open,” said Weld. “We’ve got the lease and the construction plans, but it could be anywhere from several months to a year.”

One thing that’s for sure, is that Weld is a fan of the neighborhood, citing its relative space—as well as Egg’s popularity and subsequent crowdedness—as part of the reason for expansion. “On North 3rd everything always feels a little bigger,” he said. “It’s like Texas in Williamsburg. The buildings are a little taller; the spaces a little larger; the projects are a little bigger. I don’t know why that is, but for some reason it feels like that.”

The new businesses are also welcome additions for Corey Eastwood, who believed the addition of El Beit and Parish Hall will lead to increased traffic to his own store, Book Thug Nation, which has called North 3rd Street home since October 2009. “It [the block] is becoming more of a destination,” he said. Recent community events such as the North 3rd Street Block Party in May, which featured block-wide participation, live music, free BBQ (and yoga) are proof of this. “It was a pretty good show of force,” he said of the event, which attracted in excess of a thousand attendees.

“Everybody’s been really supportive and nice,” said Eastwood. “I think part of that is because of the self-contained nature of block.”

Whatever the reason may be, North 3rd Street is one block that’s on the move. Howard Hunt, owner of Southern-styled dive bar The Levee, one of the block’s most longstanding establishments at just over five and half years, summarized the block’s direction succinctly: “It’s gotten bigger and older,“ he said. “Our clientele has stayed about the same, but everywhere else is changing.”

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