The just-shuttered Evergreen Ice Cream Co. braved opening on a barren stretch of Evergreen Avenue, a street that runs through the heart of Bushwick linking the side of the neighborhood that centers around the J train to the Morgan Avenue L stop after it wanders through a deserted warehouse district. And while the address didn’t work out for those entrepreneurs, it’s not stopping others from trusting that the neighborhood’s booming development will soon reward the plot with plenty of passersby. It’s rumored that a ramen shop will soon open where the parlor stood, and right next door, Dillinger’s (146 Evergreen Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-260-2123) made its debut two weeks ago, bringing the area a sleekly designed coffee house and purveyor of Russian fare.
Owners and childhood friends Ksenya Roz and Mary Kaushansky are both Russian, and they named their cafe for Kaushansky’s son. The bright space is flanked by hexagon-shaped shelves, photos and kitsch — like a cross-stitch hanging that says “Eat til it ouches you” — and a colorful mosaic; mismatched tables and chairs plus two counters form a cozy seating area. When the weather is pleasant, the backyard will make for an excellent haven — picnic tables are backed by a mural of a big red bear.
A pastry case on the counter holds an array of baked goods, and chalkboard menus announce coffee drinks plus a short list of dishes like the hunter — a Russian hot dog on a pretzel bun — apple pancakes, and pelmeni, or Russian dumplings filled with beef and pork, chicken, mushrooms, or veal.
We popped in for a bite late one morning and sheepishly asked for dumplings, doubting they were available before lunch. “We’re Russian!” the women cried. “Of course they’re available!” The chewy pouches of earthy potato and mushroom puree were bathed in butter and topped with flat-leaf parsley, which added a nice fresh bite. Accompaniments like sour cream and white vinegar added a nice tart edge to each morsel.
And while the space was fairly quiet the morning we stopped in, we imagine the neighborhood’s freelance community will soon inhabit the spot in table-camping droves. There’s free wireless, after all, and that you can rarely find a table at nearby coffeehouse Little Skip’s is a sign that the community on this side of Flushing Avenue is woefully in need of more cafes. We can think of few better places in the neighborhood to work than this one.
Dillinger’s is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Hit the next page for a few photos of the space.