Where to Eat in Red Hook, According to Apotheke’s Chrissy Fichtl

manhattan skyline from red hook

Just across the water from Governors Island is the eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. The neighborhood is home to many tantalizing eateries, as well as shops like candle store Apotheke. Owned by Chrissy Fichtl, Apotheke takes much inspiration from the world of food, having teamed up with Attaboy in the past for a penicillin cocktail-inspired candle, as well as collaborating with Shake Shack in May on a burger and shake-and-fries scented candle duo. The company’s new market collection celebrates the fresh produce of the season, with scents like strawberry lime, meyer lemon and mint, purple basil, and tomato tarragon. We sat down with Fichtl to get her recommendations on where to eat in Red Hook. 

For Your Morning Coffee: The Black Flamingo  

“I go to Black Flamingo pretty much every day. And depending on the season, I either get an iced coffee or a hot latte. And it’s just great. It’s like a very jazzy coffee shop with a European feel—all like dark and moody. And it just has the right vibe to start my day.”

For a Big, Gourmet Sandwich: Court Street Grocers

“Being a true Red Hooker, I go to Court Street Grocers. It’s a gourmet sandwich place, and they have these fantastic, elevated American sandwiches. I must get the Uncle Chucky or a meatloaf classic—large enough to split with two people, so it’s always a conversation about what we’re having for lunch at work and like who’s splitting what and who’s getting what, but it’s just great. It’s just like a walk-up counter. There’s 12 sandwiches on the menu. And the sandwiches change depending on what’s in season, so you could possibly have a roasted cauliflower sandwich, which is the Uncle Chucky, and it’s just great. It’s perfect. It’s just a real perfect sandwich place.”

For a Relaxing, Fun Dinner With Your Kids: Hoek Pizza

“[For] dinner with two kids, I can honestly say that we go to Hoek. It’s a pizza place. It’s right on the end of Valentino Pier. So you have a sunset, it’s a warehouse, it’s a huge space. Kenny and Annie, the owners, are always there to greet you. They make the best Roman pizza—and with kids you can’t go wrong doing that any night—and [I can] have a glass of wine, the kids are playing at the beach, and it’s just a really fun, like family-style way to go out and actually enjoy ourselves and relax.”

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For a Fantastic Cocktail: Fort Defiance

“It is a gem of Red Hook. They just acquired their liquor license again. They moved their location, and they’re reopening up again after a four-month winter break, and they have just the best cocktails that you can imagine. It’s like a little pub in town, and it’s a local watering hole, and it’s just so fantastic. And I can’t think of any of the drinks, but they do have a Mai Thai night…Oh, when I do go there, they have a bourbon milk punch. And that’s like my brunch drink I would love to get there. What they’re famous for is their Irish coffee.” 

[Editor’s note: At the time of publication, Fort Defiance is still temporarily closed, but their website states that they intend to reopen in June 2022.]

For a Sweet Treat: Ample Hills

“Apotheke is on like a factory row on Van Brunt [St.], where there’s huge warehouse spaces. And our neighbor is an ice cream factory, and it’s called Ample Hills. We do a lot of trading for ice cream for candles.”

And what’s that one flavor Fichtl is after? “Peppermint Patty. It’s just so decadent, I can’t even explain it, but it’s peppermint ice cream, and it has dark chocolate homemade Peppermint Patties that are chopped up and swirled into the ice cream, and it’s just so minty and fresh and sweet.”