I moved to Brooklyn in February of 2007 and ended up, after answering a string of colorful craigslist ads, in Greenpoint near McGolrick park, an area I affectionately refer to as “Oil-spill Brooklyn”. At the time I wasn’t all too familiar with the Brooklyn neighborhoods, I just knew of a few “good areas” for young folks and Greenpoint was supposed to be one of them. This particular section of Greenpoint, isn’t really what most people are referring to when they tell you how much fun shit there is to do in Greenpoint (except maybe if you’re a Polish old man that has an affinity for brown-bagging it in a park). It was a FAR walk from the train, which made my first few months in New York feel a bit isolating (especially moving here in the winter—most people were more keen to hibernate with their significant others than get a coffee with the new kid in town). All in all though, it was a good neighborhood—relatively quiet, cheapish, and close enough to good food.
Enid’s was one of the first places that really felt like home in Brooklyn. Situated between “Cool Greenpoint” (the area surrounding Franklin Ave. which seems to get a new restaurant or shop every third day) and where I was residing, it was closer than the Williamsburg restaurants and just as good (or better). The cuisine is definitely in the “hipster homestyle” realm (heavily southern-influenced comfort foods, tweaked a bit for the modern palette), they have awesome brunch (get “The Hungry Bear”: biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs), and the dinner is solid and hardly every so jammed with people that you have to wait for a table.
What I really love about it is the decor and feel of the place. It feels “lived-in”, which makes sense since it’s been a neighborhood staple for years—a friend of mine who moved to Williamsburg when you were still considered a “pioneer” for doing so, told me that in the late 90′s and early aughts Enid’s was the favorite spot of a lot of the local Brooklyn bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (to think they were ever a “local band”). It was quiet and somewhat under the radar, because the whole neighborhood was still somewhat under the radar. Soon after Enid’s was written up in the Times and a few magazines and there was an explosion in its popularity. It became overrun with Manhattanites looking for The Brooklyn Experience and the locals found other watering holes until the inevitable backlash quieted things down. One by one, the chairs were repopulated by Greenpoint and Williamsburg natives and all was right with the world.
I think my first meal at Enids happened well after the neighborhood reclaimed it, I had been set up on a blind friend-date by a few friends that lived a bit too far away to maintain a social friendship (Your notion of proximity and distance is turned on its head when you move to New York and realize that “three miles away” = a forty-five minute, two-transfer subway ride). Up to this point I felt like I was feeling around in the dark for places to eat and hang out so it was great to think “OK, I like this restaurant. This will be my default place to go if I need to be around people other than my craigslisted roommate who was strikingly active in the gay dating scene and watched more American Idol than I thought anyone could stomach.
If I remember correctly I had the pulled-pork sandwich (actually I’m totally making that up but since it’s impossible for me to turn down pulled-pork on a menu this is a solid hypothesis) which is of the vinegary rather than the smothered in BBQ sauce variety. We talked about the neighborhood, she told me about the giant sequined camel on the wall which used to be by the bathrooms but they had to move it when all the people waiting in line began picking off the sequins one by one (it’s still up to this day and the bottom half of the camel is near sequinless), I got a few good pointers of places to go, and by the end of the night the friendship had a foundation. That was just about four years ago, and Enid’s still makes me fell all warm and fuzzy when I go there. It’s hard not to go home after, put on that Peter Bjorn and John album (which was basically my Moving-to-Brooklyn soundtrack) and miss the newness of it all.