Food tours have become a popular way for tourists to explore the neighborhoods of Manhattan, and now Urban Oyster is bringing their “Eat Like a Local” series to Carroll Gardens. According to their website, the tour will include “both old school haunts and new culinary entrepreneurs” which will make for an “exciting menu of traditional flavors and daring dishes.” We caught up with Urban Oyster co-owner and Carroll Gardens tour leader David Naczycz for more details.
Why did you decide to start a food tour in Carroll Gardens?
The first reason is that I live in the neighborhood, and I wanted to create a tour about the neighborhood because I think it’s such a great place. The second reason is that all of Urban Oyster’s tours look to celebrate neighborhoods and to nurture the things we think make neighborhoods great. We believe that great neighborhoods have diverse, locally-owned businesses, a value on history and place, sustainable economies created by local consumption, and people and organizations that are working to make those neighborhoods great.
[Carroll Gardens] has all of that in spades, and this tour helps to share that with the rest of New York and the world. The third reason is that all our tours focus on unique stories, and the story of the food of this neighborhood was just such a good one with the blend of old world immigrant cuisine and new American entrepreneurs that we felt it had to be told.
Also, we identified the tour with Carroll Gardens, but this tour also includes stops in Boreum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Brooklyn Heights. In our minds, that is all really one neighborhood that has been subdivided for other purposes. We refused to call it the BOCOCA tour, so we choose Carroll Gardens as the most recognizable name in the bunch.
Can you reveal what spots will be included in the tours?
Sure can. Right now tasting stops include Brooklyn Farmacy, Damascus Bakery, D’Amico Coffee, One Girl Cookies, Seersucker, Stinky Brooklyn, and Strong Place. Those spots may change as the tour evolves, and of course we talk about a lot of other restaurants and shops in the neighborhood without doing a tasting in each one (people would explode). Those include Chestnut, Court St. Pastry, G. Esposito & Sons, Grocery, Staubitz Market, Sahadi’s, Saul, Ted & Honey, Vinny’s, and many more.
Some people may wonder where places like Frankie’s, Buttermilk Channel, and Caputos are. We had to limit our geography to make the tour doable in about 3 hours, so we don’t go south of Carroll Street. Maybe someday we’ll do a Carroll Gardens II tour to cover the south side of the neighborhood.
Will there be tours in other Brooklyn neighborhoods?
The “Eat Like a Local” series will undoubtedly include other Brooklyn neighborhoods in the future, as there are so many good ones. Plus, Urban Oyster does other tours now in Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We do have a Park Slope tour in development right now that is not focused on food but instead focuses on baseball. That one should come out next year. Urban Oyster also does tours in Manhattan and eventually will give tours in all the boroughs.
Urban Oyster’s “Eat Like a Local” Tour of Carroll Gardens runs Fridays and Saturdays from 2:00pm-5:30pm. Cost is $49, which includes tastings, a tour map, and the services of your guide. For more information, check out their website.