In an industrial patch of Bushwick, in the midst of some warehouses covered with graffiti, stands one of the most ambitious, creative restaurants I’ve ever been to. The food is fantastic—pizza topped with seasonal produce grown out back and in rooftop gardens started with Alice Waters seed money. We ordered one with squash and chili peppers, another with crispy brussels sprouts and pancetta. They also have more interesting and unexpectedly fine-ish dining options for such a laid-back, unpretentious (and reasonably priced) spot: bone marrow, foie gras, oxtail orecchiette, and a grass-fed hunk of steak that everyone agreed was the most delicious piece of meat they’d ever tasted. But just as inspired is the sprawling, unconventional space Roberta’s inhabits. While there’s definitely a hipsterish anti-decor sentiment going on inside the restaurant—wood paneling and painted cinder block walls, mismatched chairs and granny light fixtures—that doesn’t mean the place hasn’t been designed. Thoughtful adaptations, using simple, crude materials, make sure that every nook and cranny is well used, particularly outside. The outdoor area is a labyrinth of growing containers, DIY-built bars, tool sheds, ad-hoc wooden benches, and their own radio station (made from shipping containers) with a glass viewing window and audience picnic tables. There’s even a makeshift cider tent set up on the patio during the chilly months.
And if the entire operation wasn’t impressive enough, they started sending out plates of food when they found out we were from Detroit. Kindred spirits?