I’ve spent some of the best years of my life living in the northern end of Greenpoint. Though I’m by no means a native, I feel like this small area just south of the bridge to Queens is my home. While it seems like a new space opens up every week in the neighborhood’s mid-way point (on Greenpoint Avenue), there hasn’t been quite the same rush to turn empty storefronts into retail shops and restaurants a few blocks north.
Freeman Street between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street is a quiet block just a short walk away from the last subway stop in Greenpoint. The first week I adopted Hope, I walked her around this block countless times (sometimes at 2 in the morning) and never imagined that it would become the home of something so special and beautiful. But it has, thanks to Nina Brondmo of the beloved bakery, Bakeri.
Originally from Norway, Nina Brondmo opened her delicious, bread-filled hotspot in an old home in Williamsburg in 2009. Its sweet treats, sandwiches, salads and desserts developed a devoted following almost instantaneously and fans now come from far and wide to not only sample the delicious food, but to admire the decor – a look that is uniquely Nina’s. A bit of old-world charm mixed with handmade touches (Nina’s good friend painted beautiful scenery and signage on the shop’s windows and doors), Bakeri is quite simply my favorite spot to grab something special and sweet.
You can imagine my delight when I saw, on Instagram, that Bakeri had opened a new location in Greenpoint. A few quick emails later, Max, Amy and I are walking up the block to photograph Nina’s latest location – and what I’m convinced is the most beautiful wall in Greenpoint.
Photographs by Maxwell Tielman
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Bakeri’s Greenpoint location was born out of a need for more baking space. Nina explained that the Williamsburg location was so cramped that they sought out a larger space where they could devote more real estate to daily baking and shuttle the food back and forth based on the other location’s needs. But word of the new location has spread quickly and already locals have been dropping by to get coffee and fresh breads until the lunch service is in full swing (hopefully next week).
It’s easy to be blinded by one stunning wall in the space, dominated by the incredible wallpaper creation of French designer, Nathalie Lété. After seeing the paper in an Anthropologie catalog, Nina fell in love with it and quickly found herself in a hunt for the last remaining rolls (Nathalie only produced 100 rolls). Luckily, she was able to find two rolls in Europe and after they were installed, the space was flooded with colorful images and bright, cheerful flowers.
In addition to the wallpaper (which I’m pretty sure is bound to be an Instagram “most photographed” contestant soon), Bakeri’s Greenpoint space also features interior decorations, from tables and lighting to mirrors and display cases, that are almost entirely salvaged. Nina told us that she is always picking up pieces here and there during her travels and bringing them home to find a new space in her bakeries.
The most striking found feature is definitely the grand doors that form Bakeri’s entrance. Salvaged from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the doors are part of a beautiful and elaborate storefront Nina had designed and built to accommodate commercial ovens – and to welcome patrons in style. Nina’s good friend painted the gold floral detailing on the side panels and door windows, a delicate touch that highlights Nina’s attention to details at every step.
So many new restaurants open with an instantly “worn in” look these days, but without the heart and soul that makes it feel real. Nina has done such a beautiful job creating a space that feels homey and worn-in, but with the warm welcoming feel that comes with a space much, much older. We’re so lucky to have Bakeri in the neighborhood – welcome, Nina and Co.! xo, grace