Colonie Executive Chef Brad McDonald must be a glutton for punishment. In addition to taking the helm at Colonie, on Atlantic Avenue on the borderlands of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, McDonald, who we interviewed back in October, is opening not one, but TWO new restaurants near his home in DUMBO, each with a different flavor.
The first restaurant is a project McDonald and his Colonie partners Tamer Hamawi, Emelie Kihlstrom and Elise Rosenberg have been working on for a while: a small restaurant (under 40 seats) with a “kitchen-driven” local and seasonal focus at 1 Main Street. He told us about the project last fall:
“We’re well on our way to starting construction on a second space in DUMBO, at the foot of the clock tower building. It’s going to be a small joint. A little different, more modern than Colonie. I hope to push the meaning of local food, great ingredients there. Hopefully it’ll always be busy and bustling. We’re really looking forward to it…while always staying focused on keeping things strumming here at Colonie.”
Maybe while they were working long days planning the new restaurant and long nights working at Colonie they got a craving for nachos, because Grub Street reports that the team is also now planning a Mexican restaurant at Five Front Street, just two blocks from their other DUMBO location. Details are slim on this second spot, but we’d have to guess that McDonald’s devotion to his ‘hood is what encouraged him to open two places at once. He told us last fall that he feels the same way about DUMBO as his partners felt about Atlantic Ave.
“They saw the potential for a great restaurant in a neighborhood that could use one. I felt the same way about trying to open a restaurant in DUMBO, which is where I live. I see the need in DUMBO for something new, something fresh, something a little more contemporary, and maybe even something that pushes the ticket a little bit.
DUMBO’s food cred is certainly growing: One Girl Cookies just joined Jacques Torres and Almondine Bakery on the sweet side of things, and experiments like pop up pizzeria Wild Rise and the food stands at Brooklyn Bridge Park have spiced up the area’s dining options.
Even though he’ll have three times as much to worry about when the two new restaurants open (set for spring 2012), McDonald keeps promising he isn’t stepping away from the wheel at Colonie, so everyone can just calm down…and figure out the best subway/bus/bike/hike routes from their ‘hoods to DUMBO.