When 38-year-old Richard OConnell was laid off (or, rather, made redundant) in March from his London-based banking job, opening a Brooklyn café was not part of his Plan B. But after spending a month with his younger brother Martin, who operates Park Slopes original Caf Regular, and his older sister Anne, also of Park Slope, thats exactly what he did: Caf Regular Du Nord, which opened today, is about a mile north of its predecessor.
The result wont disappoint fans of the first Regular (pronounced European-style with a long a). The new spot, behind the softened peacock-blue storefront and stained-glass windows that formerly housed a florist, shares the same dark and strong coffee roast from Philadelphia's La Colombe as Martins caf, carries identical pastries and raisin rolls from a trio of local bakeries Sullivan St., Colson Patisserie, and Market and also offers 50 cent hard-boiled eggs. Thanks to Annes design talent, Du Nord possesses a similar interior aesthetic, at once classy and quirky. Or as Richard, a native of Dublin, said: Its like a rural French caf but with some slightly tacky features. He points to mismatched shades atop sixties table lamps, which Anne found at the neighborhood antique shop Time Galleries, to illuminate his point. The centerpiece of the 400-square-foot space is the Versailles-worthy chandelier dangling from a 30-foot-high tin ceiling thats been painted to appear distressed. One winking flourish clearly delights Richard the old-fashioned, wooden bank tellers window where customers settle up. This is going to be quite a different experience from sitting on my ass in the bank, he says. Im really looking forward to it.
Caf Regular du Nord. 158A Berkeley Pl., nr. Seventh Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 347-452-0461 (temporary phone number)