Pioneered by kindergarteners, snack time is now fundamental to the human experience. And since many of us are working from our apartments these days, snacking has taken on greater meaning. It’s a chance to get outside, stretch your legs, and heed the calls of the 3pm sun, all while eating something delicious. If you’re in Williamsburg and looking to take a break on a weekday, here are our favorite spots in the neighborhood to pick up something quick. They’re all open starting around lunchtime, and make it easy for you to grab and go.
The khaliat alnahl from this Yemeni cafe on Bedford has saved us from sassing our significant others and sending passive-aggressive emails to our coworkers. Something about the combination of honey, cheese, and flaky pastry soothes our irritability like something taken in the company of Midol. The pastry is stuffed with cream cheese, toasted, and then drizzled with honey right when it comes out of the oven. Stop in to try some of their other pastries and one of their pour-over coffee options.
By now we hope that you’ve politely introduced yourself to the Birria-Landia truck parked at the intersection of Metropolitan & Meeker Avenues (since it’s home to the city’s best birria). And if you haven’t, let snack time be your way in. The lines can get fairly long here in the evenings, so swing by after they open at 2pm for a taco snack any day of the week. First, you’ll taste lime, then tender meat, then adobo, then dripping fat, with everything melting together in your unworthy mouth. Make sure to take your crunchy-soft tortilla filled with beef and, and dip it in your cup of consomme. What happens is a sea change. The word “delicious” seems somehow inadequate. Bring cash.
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There are more coffee shops in Williamsburg than there are Tuesday-Thursday parking spots, but this Filipino cafe is one of the few you should adjust your regular caffeine-and-pastry routine for. Get a cup of single-origin espresso produced in the Philippines, and an ensaymada. This fluffy brioche bun is filled with ube custard, then covered in butter and sugar. You might sugar-crash at 3pm like a kindergartener, but would that really be such a bad thing?
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If you live in the section of North Williamsburg by McCarren Park and the BQE, it is your duty as a Williamsburg citizen to try the heros and other Italian specialties at Anthony & Sons at least once. We love their Italian combo (called “The Godfather Hero”) for lunch, but a little-known fact is that Anthony & Sons also make extravagant milkshakes made with things like Italian rainbow cookies and cannoli. You can even add a shot of espresso to it, like an evolved version of the Frappuccinos you used to buy at Starbucks in the 2000’s. Try one the next time you’re having a bad day.
Whenever we go to this Salvadoran restaurant on Grand Street, we never leave without at least one dainty-soft pupusa. Even if we’ve also ordered large plates of grilled pork chops and fried yuca with chicharron. Bahia serves ten different papusa versions, for $2.50 each. Try the revueltas stuffed with pork, refried beans, and cheese that comes with curtido and tomato sauce. We’d also recommend the pupusas loroco, a cheesy version made with edible wildflower that tastes nutty and herbaceous.
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We once had the idea to make a care package service using nothing but Win Son Bakery’s pastries and a personalized haiku in every box. And we stand by this as a viable business model. But if you’re just here for one thing (and not a box), make it the mochi doughnut. This bulbous little treat is made with millet (so it’s naturally gluten-free), and has tons of great chew. We also recommend the buttery pinenut cookie, and scallion pancakes for all those that can’t commit to leaving Win Son Bakery with just a single item.
photo credit: Andrew Bezek
Edith’s serves Jewish-American staples that we wish we had at the break-fasts of our youth, including a breakfast sandwich served on a Chicago-style bagel (which is flat like a Montreal bagel, but made without the honey) with a homemade latke smack in the middle. We could sit here and argue about the BEC’s proper classification as a snack or not a snack. Instead, we think you should do whatever you want, knowing that ordering a latke by itself with some trout roe is also an excellent snacking decision.
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The second Mekelburg’s location in Williamsburg is similar to the Clinton Hill original - an upscale grocery store in the front with a bar in the back serving high-quality sandwiches and small plates, as well as a bunch of craft beers on tap. Except this location is right by the water at Domino Park, which makes it a perfect place to take a 30-minute break on a weekday. Get a tartine with smoked salmon or a babka muffin and stare at the East River until you figure out the reason it’s technically an estuary rather than a river.
This takeout spot near the Williamsburg Bridge walking entrance serves some of our favorite Thai food in all of Brooklyn - especially their guay tiao tom yum soup and creamy-spicy khao soy. If you want something quick, stop by and order their fermented Isan sausage to-go. They have two different sizes available, $9 small and $17 large, which means they’re practically asking you to order the small as a walking snack.
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Sometimes you have a bad day and your stomach and heart demand relief in the form of a very cold piña colada with a very silly, tiny umbrella. Sit at one of The Commodore’s beach chairs on Havemeyer Street and make hard eye contact with any skeptical passerby at 2pm on a Monday. Is this a snack? We don’t think it really matters.