Hard to believe it's actually happening, but the McCarren Park Pool is slated to reopen, filled with water for the first time since the eighties, tomorrow. The $50-million-dollar revamp has made the pool shiny and new (and cleaned away any remnants of the concerts that filled the space in summers past), but your food and drink options will be limited. Luckily, there are plenty of places to grab a bite and a drink all around the park. Yes, your mom may have told you not to eat before swimming, but splashing around does work up an appetite. Which is why we've rounded up ten of the best portable eats and drinks in the vicinity of north Williamsburg and lower Greenpoint margaritas, coffee, hot dogs, empanadas, and much more. So grab your trunks, hit the pool, then snap up anything you see straight ahead.
Empanada from Cubana Social, $4.25
70 N. 6th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 718-782-3334 Cubana Social's takeout window mostly served coffee and other drinks, but the one food item — empanadas — is worth the five-minute wait. Choose from grass-fed beef picadillo, chicken, cheese and organic egg, or our favorite, chorizo and potato. The flaky pastries arrive piping hot, with a side of green salsa.
Picnic Fixings from Radish, $2.50–$9
158 Bedford Ave., nr. N. 8th St., Williamsburg; 718-782-2744 This charming takeout shop has rotating selection of fresh seasonal salads and other mostly healthy grub. Be sure to get an order of the black radish salad (pictured, bottom), the house namesake, which is crunchy and bright, made with seasonal vegetables, cilantro, and sesame oil.
Burger and fries from Bellwether, $16
594 Union Ave., at Richardson St., Williamsburg; 347-529-4921 The restaurant is right around the corner from McCarren, and a recent staff revamp means an entirely new menu to match the new pool. The burger from executive chef and Fatty 'Cue alumn Dan Ross-Leutwyler is straightforward — grass-fed beef, Tillamook cheddar, pickles, and onions — and a whole lot better than any post-swim sandwiches you ate growing up. Our advice: Pair it with a cocktail from beverage director Justin Lane Briggs's new drink list.
Iced Coffee from Five Leaves, $3.25
18 Bedford Ave., at Lorimer St., Williamsburg; 718-383-5345 It's hardly a North Brooklyn summer day without a pit stop at the Five Leaves coffee window, conveniently located just across the street from the top of McCarren Park.
Phelps Sandwich at Urban Rustic, $8
236 N. 12th St., nr. Union Ave., Williamsburg; 718-388-9444 The north Brooklyn rustic grocer is a fitting picnic stop with its menu of salads, burritos, and sandwiches made on housebaked bread. The Phelps — a simple combination of prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted peppers, and basil — gets our vote for the most summery order.
Spicy Redneck from Crif Dogs, $4.75
555 Driggs Ave., at N. 7th St., Williamsburg; 718-302-3200 It's hard to choose a favorite at Crif Dogs, but the Spicy Redneck is our recent go-to. Somehow the combination of a bacon-wrapped frankfurter piled with creamy coleslaw, jalapeños, and a little bit of chili seems extra summery — that's our excuse for this kind of glorious gluttony, anyway.
BBQ salad from Sips & Bites, $12
178 N 10th St., nr. Driggs Ave., Williamsburg; 347-889-5333 Even salad skeptics can get behind this Southwestern-leaning meal-in-a-bowl, a heap of Romaine with corn, black beans, house-made cornbread croutons, and a generous pile of delicious shredded barbecued chicken, topped with a creamy lime dressing.
Absinthe Margarita from Turkey's Nest Tavern, $8
94 Bedford Ave., at N. 12th St., Williamsburg; 718-384-9774 Possibly the neighborhood's diviest dive serves its giant beers and margaritas (made with absinthe) in Styrofoam cups, which practically beg to be carted to go on the sly, if you can swing it. And if anyone stops you, just tell them it's limeade.
Falafel from Oasis, $3
161 N. 7th St., nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg; 718-218-7607 One of the cheapest fill-ups in the neighborhood is from Mediterranean spot Oasis, whose falafel are fresh and crunchy, and best of all, topped with as many veggies and pickles as you like.
Tacos from Calexico, $3–$4
645 Manhattan Ave., at Nassau Ave., Williamsburg; 347-763-2129 Some of the best tacos in town are served just north of the pool at the Greenpoint branch of Calexico. Try the chipotle pork or pollo verde — or if you're not getting takeout, the enchiladas.
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