Freshly made doughnuts, Saxelby cheese, rotisserie chicken and cauliflower infused with chicken drippings are just a few of the things coming to Vanderbilt Avenue, when 606 R&D opens this weekend.
The restaurant is the brainchild of two longtime City Bakery alums, Ilene Rosen and Sara Dima (which explains the moniker, taken from the address and their last names).
Rosen, a Flatbush native who served as City Bakery’s savory chef for 15 years, moved to Prospect Heights from Manhattan two years ago after searching Brooklyn for the perfect spot for her family.
"It was one of those visceral responses," she said. "I just really liked it here. It felt like a real neighborhood," Rosen said.
Dima, City Bakery’s former general manager, originally hails from Texas and now lives a few blocks away in Clinton Hill.
The restaurant will start with just dinners, Wednesday through Sunday, and weekend brunch. But eventually Rosen and Dima hope to serve three meals a day, seven days a week.
“I want people to be able to come in in the morning and have a doughnut and coffee, and then come in later and have a really well made cocktail and dinner,” Rosen said.
There will also be a full bar including such quirky cocktails as a parsnip-syrup “odd fashioned,” local wine on tap, kombucha and seltzer in the old-timey spray bottles from Brooklyn’s legendary Ronnie Bieberman.
It will also serve as an upscale mini-grocery, with such wares as La Quercia cured meats, Grandaisy bread and Battenkill Valley Creamery milk as well as rotisserie chicken (and vegetables infused with the drippings). And the Dreesen’s doughnut machine will turn out piping hot standards: cinnamon, powered sugar and plain.
But despite the upscale offerings, Rosen said the pair plans keep the spot affordable and casual.
“I really want to be a friendly neighborhood place where the family can come in on a Tuesday and not break the bank,” she said.
To that point, they eventually plan to institute themed Sunday dinners, priced at $20 for three courses when possible. Served family style, the menus will come from people who aren’t chefs, but are just really great cooks, such as a close friend from Greece, or Dima’s mother, who hails from Texas.
As for the atmosphere, the former hair salon has been transformed with such accents as reclaimed black gumwood floors and glass tile. Rosen, who has a degree in interior design, has designed every detail of the space, from the carefully chosen bar stools, to the salvaged stone patio out back.
“We’re hoping that it’s warm and comfortable and not fussy,” Rosen said.
606 R&D, 606 Vanderbilt Ave. between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 718-230-0125.