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River Barrel – Greenpoint, Brooklyn

The River Barrel is a new restaurant on Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I believe it opened up here within the past month since I remember *something* being under construction there during Christmas time. This past weekend, we were heading down to either Brooklyn Label, or Greenpoint Coffee House for brunch and noticed this place was open – so we stepped in…

Neighborhood: Brooklyn/Greenpoint
160 Franklin St
(between Java St & Kent St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-8881

River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint

My first impression of this place was that it was new. By “new” I mean – there was no charm. There’s potential but it just felt like a blank canvas (opposed to Brooklyn Label which feels like a worn in pair of quality boots.) I liked that there were a bunch of seating options, we chose to sit at the bar since it was fairly wide, clean, and welcoming. Our waitress was (the bartender) very attentive since she was always… right there. I think I spotted the owner hanging around in the back checking everything out and cleaning up a bit here and there. As opposed to some of the other reviews I’ve read of this place, the waitresses didn’t seem to be struggling and everything seemed to be running pretty smoothly. It was rather full around 2pm on Sunday – apparently they’ve come a long way in the past 3 weeks.

What did we have?

We had a River Barrel Burger, and a Greenpoint Omlet with coffee. I have to say the River Barrel burger was the best burger I’ve had in a long time. The key is that they put on pickled carrots and cucumbers (?!) I also added smoked Gouda cheese and bacon and I swear it was the most satisfying combination of flavors. The Greenpoint Omlet was alright though not spectacular. One thing they didn’t mention was that it had sausage on it – they might have said so on the menu but it wasn’t explicit. I would think with the high vegetarian/young-Greenpoint-resident ratio would insight them to indicate which meals are vegetarian. Seems kind of old school to me not to anyhow.

Whatever side dish came with the meals I cannot remember. I believe they came with fries though nothing stood out to me as spectacular about them.

Will I be coming back?

If I’m feeling like getting out of the house one night without going far, I might come in for dinner. I usually don’t go out around here for dinner (except for Paloma) but since this place is new, I may be more apt to check out the menu. I’m really happy to see these new places coming up in this area and since we’ll likely be here for a while, I’d like to continue supporting them.

What suggestions would I make?

Make better coffee.

If River Barrel really wants my business, put together a respectable coffee offering. I don’t even need espresso drinks but please don’t serve me Maxwell House that’s been sitting there all morning.

Put salt on the tables.

I would think this was rule numero uno in the restaurant biz ….apparently not. What’s funny here is that I remember that I couldn’t find any salt, and that whatever I was eating needed it – but I can’t remember what I was eating. Is that bad that the food (except the burger) was so unmemorable??


The River Barrel is still understandably settling in and looks like it could eventually be a strong asset to the area’s restaurant community. I’m curious to see which angle it develops into considering having the combination of Brooklyn Label and not having Paloma as competition. Also I think there was some other restaurant around here but I have only been there once and I hope it’s since closed… that’s another review.

Price per person: ~$20 (total including tax and tip)

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  1. River Barrel said

    thank you for the review, we hope you will be back soon!

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