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Eating along the M line: Knickerbocker Ave. stop

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Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News

There’s Miami-style decor at Cafeteria La Mejor, located at 191 Suydam St. in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

It’s no secret Bushwick is currently Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood. But that doesn’t mean every new place is following a fad. These three spots near the M line’s Knickerbocker and Central Ave. stops have plenty of heart.

Cool coals

A Cubano sandwich at Cafeteria La Mejor

Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News

A Cubano sandwich at Cafeteria La Mejor

When it comes to Bushwick pizzerias, Roberta’s gets all the love. But Verde Coal Oven Pizza is also deserving. For starters, it has a great story. When contractor Charlie Verde bought an Irving Ave. building to be his office in 2002, in the basement he found a 106-year-old coal-burning oven that can blast up to 1,000 degrees.

In 2011, the Sicilian-American restored it, creating a romantic little restaurant with sidewalk seating and a private party room. Hidden on a residential street, it’s the type of place you stumble onto by accident and hope the crowds don’t follow.

Open from breakfast till late, Verde has a full menu — espresso and Verde breads in the morning, panini ($ 8 to $ 13), plus pastas or oven-roasted Cornish hens ($ 18). But pizza is what they do best. That powerful oven — in winter, it heats the street — turns out skinny, crisp-crusted, Neapolitan-size pies with a kiss of char.

Owner Charlie Verde takes a pizza out of the 100-year-old brick oven at Verde Coal Oven Pizza, located at 254 Irving Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News

Owner Charlie Verde takes a pizza out of the 100-year-old brick oven at Verde Coal Oven Pizza, located at 254 Irving Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

A Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes is $ 10, but the $ 13 spicy Diavolo — laced with hot slices of sopressata, chili oil and cherry peppers — delivers even more heat.

Verde Coal Oven Pizza: 254 Irving Ave., at Bleecker St., (718) 381-8800.

Carciofilla and Lucky Charlie pies at Verde Coal Oven Pizza

Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News

Carciofilla and Lucky Charlie pies at Verde Coal Oven Pizza

Miami vice

In a city full of coffee shops with identical decor, Cafeteria La Mejor is a breath of fresh air. Or maybe that’s tropical air? La Mejor is inspired by the owners’ Miami roots. Done up in hot pink and teal, you can almost believe there’s white sand and palm trees beyond the back door.

The feel extends beyond the furnishings. Florida natives and partners Luis Velazquez and Jeremy Sapienza — who launched the cafe three years ago with help from Sapienza’s brother Mike — have put together an excellent menu, too.

White tuna at Bushwick Kitchen, at 128 Central Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn

pearl gabel/new york daily news

White tuna at Bushwick Kitchen, at 128 Central Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn

In addition to Cuban sodas and traditional tea and espresso, they make pressed sandwiches and Cuban coffee drinks with Stumptown beans. The classic supersweet cafe con leche, made with steamed milk and a tiny bit of butter and salt, is $ 3.75.


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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