Bedford-Stuyvesant (nickname Bed-Stuy) is one of Brooklyn’s most historic and culturally diverse neighborhoods. The neighborhood has the largest collection of untouched and intact Victorian buildings in the U.S., with hundreds of historic brownstones filling the neighborhood’s streets. For nearly a century, Bedford-Stuyvesant has been a cultural center for the African American community in New York, with many of its current residents descending from families who moved here from Harlem for better housing availability. Figures like Jackie Robinson, Bobby Fischer, Mike Tyson, Jackie Gleason and Jay-Z have called Bedford-Stuyvesant home. The home is also famous for its delectable soul food and Caribbean options. Here are our top 10 secrets of Bedford-Stuyvesant!
1. There is a secret Armenian pop-up restaurant
On 250 Hancock Street sits an assuming set of tables with decorative tablecloths, plastic chairs and plenty of people chowing down on appetizing food. Chef Ararat El Rawi runs Little Armenia Cafe, a secret pop-up restaurant serving Armenian specialties. Dishes at the pop-up include appetizers such as tabouli and ceviche, summer pasta and a steak sandwich, and stone fruit soup to finish off the meal.
Untapped New York writer Laurie Shapiro wrote that the pop-up, which only runs on weekends, has a rich backstory. Ararat most recently worked as the lead waiter at Esca, one of the top fish restaurants in the city. He had originally trained in the kitchen in his parents’ restaurant Little Bagdad in Minneapolis, then in fine dining establishments such as Minneapolis’s Café Un Deux Trois under Food Network star Andrew Zimmern, and at Goodfellows (four stars) under Chef Kevin Cullen. He had been on unemployment since his beloved Esca closed from the pandemic, so he opened the pop-up from his apartment kitchen. And while training, he even used to go in the kitchen for Prince’s cook Suzi and learn how to make Prince’s favorite pineapple upside-down cake.