At a glance, Runner & Stone, a new bakery-restaurant that opened last month on Third Avenue at Carroll Street may appear to have more in common with Canal Saint-Martin in Paris than the nearby Gowanus waterway.
The daily array of croissants, rose-water brioche, financiers, baguettes and miche visible from the storefront are the handiwork of head baker Peter Endriss, whose resume includes stints under Francois Payard, as well as overseeing the bread program at Bouchon Bakery and Per Se. Well hello, fancy.
But tuck in to one of the sandwiches served at lunchtime, and you will find flavors reminiscent of your childhood: Grilled Cheddar on Rye, layered with pancetta and studded with pickled apples, is a grownup variation on the timeless ham and cheese. Meanwhile, the Mackerel, Tomato and Shallot on baguette, is the fish sandwich you only wish your mother had made for you before school.
Those artistic brushstrokes on familar New American themes come from executive chef Chris Pizzulli, a Bensonhurst native who began cooking at his grandmother's knee and worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Park Slope before embarking on this latest venture.
Together, the pair aim to make Runner & Stone "an easygoing, local place," and they've woven references to the neighborhood throughout the establishment.
For one, the name Runner & Stone "refers to the two stones used to grind grain in a traditional mill, the runner stone and the base stone," shares Pizzulli.
The traditional mill is an important symbol to the duo, not only because of their commitment to handcrafted breads and pastas but because Runner & Stone is located only a few blocks away from the site of the first tide-water gristmill in New York City.
Fun fact: Adam Brouwer, a former Dutch soldier, built and operated that first gristmill at Nevins and Sackett Streets and later petitioned the governor to let him dig a canal through the sandbar "at the mouth of Gowanus Kil so that boats could row up to his mill."
With their name firmly rooted in the past, Pizzulli and Endriss have taken care to link themselves to current area business owners as well. One example of that is ever-present alongside the breakfast and brunch pastries: Crop to Cup Coffee, a Gowanus-based cooperative that brews family-grown coffee from Uganda and Burundi.
But when darkness falls, and the morning bakery case is removed from the bar to make room for more night creatures, guests can still indulge in a sip of something with a Brooklyn spirit while enjoying the housemade cod ravioli.
Four of the restaurant's five signature cocktails are in homage to surrounding stomping grounds, from The South Brooklyn—a mix of rittenhouse, dry vermouth, maraschino, Saint-Germain and bitters—to the winking Gowanus: a swirl of Tito’s vodka and picholine brine. And for those with a taste for Brooklyn beer, there's always Six Point Righteous Rye.
So take a stroll down Third Avenue and say hello to the new guys. You may have more in common with them than meets the eye.
Runner & Stone is located at 285 Third Avenue at Carroll Street; 718-576-3360