Lincoln Station, Al Di La's second Crown Heights venture, had a soft opening Monday morning offering a menu of coffee and pastries.
“This week we’re breaking in the kitchen and practicing the dishes and we figured we might as well open up,” said Jacob Somers, who owns the restaurant with Al Di La founders Anna Klinger and Emiliano Coppa.
The cafe, located at 409 Lincoln Place is around the corner from its sister restaurant, (“Irish twins,” Klinger jokes).
But identical twins they’re not. While Bar Corvo and Al Di La are quite similar in menu and atmosphere, Lincoln Station goes in a new direction.
While the elder children are cozy upscale Italian restaurants, Lincoln Station is a spacious, light-filled café/charcuterie/bar/take-out restaurant that brings a lot of new options to the area.
During the day it will be a café with ample open space for parents to park strollers as well as WiFi and outlets for the freelance crowd. But once at full speed, it will also offer a full menu with such dishes as porchetta (roast pork shoulder) sandwiches, faro salads, lasagna, rotisserie chicken and grilled vegetables to eat in or take home.
Finally it will serve as a neighborhood charcuterie where people can pick-up organic pork chops, home-made soup stock and other hard-to-find ingredients to cook at home, as well as such offerings as locally made breads, Anne Saxelby cheese, Salumeria Biellenese dry cured sausage, and Pat La Frieda meat.
Klinger said the team choose the new direction to fill a void.
"Where do you get a nice piece of cheese? You can’t really stay on Washington Avenue," she said. "This is an environment people can get good quality food to pick up or eat right away."
As soon as the café gets its beer and wine license, it will also serve as a neighborhood watering hole in the evenings.
The café, with its vintage-feel wallpaper, brick walls, reclaimed wood floors and exposed rafters, was designed by Somers, who was eager to bring a spacious meeting place to Washington Avenue.
“There’s not another place where you can come in with a stroller meet another person with a stroller,” said Somers, who moved to Washington Avenue with his family over the summer.
Another feature is long central table seating 16. The table is open to laptop users during the day (leaving the small tables free for diners) and will serve as a two-sided bar at night.
The communal table is an important feature in all three of the Al Di La team’s restaurants.
“At Al Di La, we have a lot of people who have become lifelong friends sitting at the communal table,” Somers said.
“It breaks down separations between our customers,” he added. “When you’re at a communal table it gives you a sense of being part of a family, being part of a community, not being isolated. You’re sharing the table with your neighbors.”
Lincoln Station, 409 Lincoln Place at Washington Avenue, Phone: 718-399-2211 Fax: 718-399-2212. They are currently open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eventually they expect be open M-Th 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri., 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.