If you’re going for a run in Williamsburg, there are plenty of routes you could take. You could jog along the waterfront, for example, or you could get on the track at McCarren Park and pretend you’re a human version of Seabiscuit. And once you’ve dodged enough tourists and sufficiently impressed yourself with your running abilities, you’ll probably want some food. For the best post-run restaurants, check out this list. It has 15 great spots, and they’re all casual enough for when you find yourself in athletic wear that’s drying but still smells vaguely like sweat.
Mekelburg’s is a miniature supermarket full of wonderful-yet-non-essential items like artisanal cocktail bitters and more types of hot sauce than you’ll ever need. The Williamsburg location has a dining room in the back with a full bar, and - while it’s about as casual as you’d expect a restaurant in the grocery store to be - there’s some very serious food on the menu, like bone marrow, duck paté, and a bunch of great sandwiches. Stop by in your sweaty shorts, get the meatloaf sandwich or duck banh mi, and if it’s nice out, eat at one of the tables outside.
Gertie is an attractive spot with big windows, a pastel color scheme, and a large mural of kitchen utensils and abstract (yet comforting) shapes. It’s open all day, but we prefer it in the daytime when it’s counter-service and the space feels like a big, happy California-themed diorama full of people pretending to enjoy their green juice. Stop by and grab a BEC on a bialy the next time you go for a run around Bedford Avenue and work up an appetite shouting at tourists.
Fette Sau is kind of like a candy store, except instead of candy, it has piles of smoked meat. When you walk inside, you’ll see a counter to your right, and behind this counter, you’ll see things like brisket, sausage, ribs, and pulled pork. Point at what you want, specify how much you’d like, then carry everything back to your table and take a mental picture of all your smoked meat before you make it disappear. If you order the correct amount of food, you won’t be very mobile by the time you’re finished, but fortunately, you’ve already hit your running quota for the day.
If we could only eat tacos at one place in Williamsburg, we’d pick La Superior. In part, that’s because we like the colorful plates, peeling wallpaper, and no-nonsense feel of the place. We’re also fans of the flautas, queso, and carnitas tacos, and we like the fact that you can just hang out and drink margaritas for several hours. Plus, this place is also open until 2am on weekends, in case you recently relocated from Prague and now conduct your morning runs at midnight.
Over the course of your run, you might become one with the outside world. And when you’re finished, you might not be fully prepared to reintegrate into indoor society. If that’s how you feel, stop by Lighthouse and sit at one of the big picnic tables on the sidewalk. This place is perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and it has plenty of sort-of-healthy options like grilled eggplant and charred escarole that we’d eat every day. That said, we also really like the burger here, and it’s what we get about half the time we come. Whichever route you choose, finish your meal with a slice of pie.
At the very least, a coffee shop must have coffee. Wifi is also nice, as are tables, chairs, and napkins. Gotan has all of these things, and it also has some very good food. Stop by after you finish racing your demons, and grab a salad with tuna and avocado or chicken and cauliflower. Or just get a fried chicken sandwich. There’s plenty of seating in here, and no one will judge you for looking like you could use a shower.
After a run, you could always just go home and make a sandwich. And this sandwich would probably be pretty decent. But you didn’t wake up this morning, go through the trouble of putting on clothes, and go for a run just so you could eat something pretty decent. Instead, go to Court Street Grocers, and get a turkey reuben on toasted rye, a muffuletta, or an exceptional tuna sandwich with horseradish and cranberry sauce.
Abracadabra kind of looks like a coffee shop that would also sell healing crystals and books on Area 51. It’s about the size of a large utility closet, and it’s filled with mismatched furniture, potted plants, and various arts and crafts. The food is mostly pretty healthy, so it’s a great spot to eat a plate of things that’ll make you feel like you got all your nutrients for the week, like a plate with lentil balls, brown rice, roasted vegetables, and green hummus. And if that sounds unappealing, you should know that it’s actually pretty good, and you might wind up coming back several times a week.
Lella is a casual Italian spot near the Lorimer L stop that’s popular with locals, and if you stop by on a nice day, you’ll probably see some people outside hanging with their dogs. And once you get past all these dogs, you’ll find a nice, homey space filled with vintage toys, old pots and pans, and a yellow rotary telephone. The employees wear bright red beanies like Jacques Cousteau (or Steve Zissou), and they’ll make you a good cheesy flatbread sandwich or a bowl of vegetables with a poached egg and a chunk of burrata. Grab a table, hang out for a while, and try to become a regular.
Once you’ve finished your run, there’s about a 75% chance you’ll be in the mood to sit at a picnic table, have a cocktail with rum and fruit juice, and eat some Caribbean food. And that’s why you should know about Pearl’s. It’s a Caribbean restaurant with neon-colored decor and old boomboxes hanging on the walls, and it has a big backyard perfect for when you want to hang out in the sun for an hour or two. Get some jerk chicken or a sandwich with short ribs and plantains, and order some kind of cocktail pitcher just in case.
Walk by Reunion Cafe on a weekend morning, and you’ll see a bunch of people loitering around the entrance, waiting to get a table. This Israeli cafe is one of our favorite brunch spots in Williamsburg, but if you can’t make it for brunch, it’s great for lunch and dinner as well. Get a table on the front patio when it’s nice enough to eat outdoors, and be sure to eat some hummus, shawarma, or shakshuka, no matter what time of day it is.
You’re a relatable, low-maintenance, and down-to-earth person, so sometimes all you really need is a slice of pizza. Or maybe you’re none of these things. Chances are, you still enjoy a good slice of pizza. Best Pizza is where you’ll find our favorite slice in Williamsburg (the white one with sesame seeds on the crust is especially good), and the space has a few tables where you can camp out with your food.
If you just want a quick, simple sandwich, go to Depanneur. It’s a little market on Wythe, and we like to think of it as a bodega that went to grad school and now thinks it’s better than everyone else (because it kind of is). You can get things like Persian yogurt and saltwater taffy here, and you can also get a great pastrami or egg salad sandwich. And if you need a place to eat, there are usually some tables on the sidewalk out front.
You’ve just been out running, the same way people have been running for tens of thousands of years (but with more clothing and better shoes), and now you want to sit down and eat something with your hands, just like your cave person ancestors did. This something should be a burger - and you should get it at Allswell. This neighborhood pub makes an excellent burger with a thick patty, sharp cheddar, and a good sesame bun, and it’s exactly what you’ll want to eat after running either one or 20 miles.