The Radio Bakery opens to big, happy crowds In Greenpoint 

The line ran out the door and down the sidewalk on India Street on Saturday morning, even in the steady rain, just as it has every morning since Kelly Mencin and her partners opened Radio Bakery in Greenpoint last week. And once again, she was selling out fast.

“I made like 600-plus pastries on opening day, and we sold out by 9:30 a.m.” Mencin tells Brooklyn Magazine. “We are all overwhelmed by how great it’s been. I’m just so happy. This is what I live for, just baking and baking and making as much as I can, and getting it out to people.”

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Come. But come prepared to wait (Scott Lynch)

Radio Bakery is an offshoot of the excellent Rolo’s in Ridgewood, where Mencin has been the pastry chef since it opened early 2021, and all four of the partners there — Howard Kalachnikoff, Rafiq Salim, Paul Wetzel, and Ben Howell — are her partners here. It appears to be very much a team effort in these early days. On Saturday chef Salim was slathering green tahini onto cauliflower sandwiches and knifing open slabs of focaccia, while Howell, the general manager over at Rolo’s, was replenishing trays of croissants and working the counter.

But Mencin is the baker here and, at its core, Radio is her show. And she nails it.

“We’re calling ourselves a New York style bakery, because New York has a bit of everything,” she says. There are Italian breads and maritozzi, French viennoiserie and sandwiches that riff on classics from places like New Orleans, Midtown street carts, the Grecian islands, and your corner bodega.

Everything is awesome at Radio Bakery, maybe especially Mencin’s savory stuff, of which there is plenty. The swirly, spicy ‘nduja croissant is a revelation, the spreadable pork sausage layered into the dough and baked to a crackle. The scallion sesame twist came to life during Radio’s popup at Bonnie’s, and represents a kind of Cantonese-style collab with chef Calvin Eng. And the bearclaw, as Mencin describes it, “is pretezly and salty and cheesy and mustardy.” In other words, perfect.

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Scallion sesame twist, $7, and spicy ‘nduja croissant, $8 (Scott Lynch)

If you’ve ever had the tomato and garlic focaccia slice at Rolo’s, you know you want to order it here at Radio, the chewy bread awash in bright acidic sauce. It’s like taking a bite of summer. There’s also a luxurious bacon, egg, and cheese version of Mencin’s open-faced beauties, as well as an “everything spice” one, with a schmear of scallion cream cheese.

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Bacon, egg, and cheese focaccia, $9.50, tomato and garlic focaccia slice, $4.50 (Scott Lynch)

The grab-and-go sandwiches start appearing at around 11 a.m., and the spicy muffaletta is one of the best things I’ve eaten all year, just a deliriously sensual beast of a meal. The focaccia comes sliced and stuffed with salami, mortadella, prosciutto, provolone, and lots of kicky olive spread. I ate half immediately while sitting at Radio’s counter, and the other half later that night, after everything had marinated for hours. It’s still tough to say which half delivered more pleasure.

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Spicy muffaletta, $16 (Scott Lynch)

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to resist getting the muffaletta again next time, but in case it’s sold out the roasted cauliflower sandwich with tahini and pepperoncini is a hit, as is the marinated feta and tomato hero, co-starring lots of olive oil and a bit of wild oregano and mint.

There are plenty of world-class sweet treats at Radio too, including a delightfully tart rhubarb custard number, and a subtler-than-it-sounds chocolate and coffee cream creation.

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Rhubarb custard and chocolate coffee cream croissants, $7 each; chocolate chunk cookie, $4.50 (Scott Lynch)

The showstopper, though, is the citrus maritozzi, a brioche-y bun erupting with fluffy whipped cream.

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Citrus maritozzi, $8.50 (Scott Lynch)

The sleeper hit in the sweets department may be the crunchy, sticky Earl Grey morning bun. The twice-baked pistachio croissant is delightful, the interior a masterclass in honeycombing, and the straight-up classic croissant is, as my counter-neighbor said to me after a couple of bites, “the best in Brooklyn.” There’s a full coffee program here as well.

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Twice-baked pistachio croissant, $8 (Scott Lynch)

You should probably expect a line at Radio for the foreseeable future, but the Rolo’s crew knows how to run a popular spot, and everything is friendly, organized, and efficient. Plus the vibes are neighborly and chill; this is a pleasant, leafy block, and it’s fun to watch the bustle of the big open kitchen inside. There are some seats indoors at the counter, looking out onto India Street, and, when it’s not raining, a few tables set up the sidewalk.

“I bake and create with an inner nostalgia,” Mencin says. “That’s how it is at Rolo’s. I want to make what I want to eat and what tears at my heartstrings, and hopefully will tear at other people’s heartstrings as well.”

Radio Bakery is located at 135 India Street, just west of Manhattan Avenue, and is currently open on Thursday through Monday from 7:30 a.m to 3 p.m., or until sold out.

The post The Radio Bakery opens to big, happy crowds In Greenpoint  appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

By: Scott Lynch
Title: The Radio Bakery opens to big, happy crowds In Greenpoint 
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Published Date: Mon, 22 May 2023 03:40:00 +0000

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