Best Neighborhoods for Opening a New Restaurant in Brooklyn
Opening a restaurant is full of risks. But when you’re able to find success by combining your passion with an opportunity, the rewards can be tremendous. With its high population (i.e. lots of hungry mouths), opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn seems like a fail-proof idea. But at the end of the day, there are some neighborhoods that will offer a better chance for success than others.
Learn how to spot a great neighborhood for a restaurant along with our top neighborhood choices for opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn.
Signs a Neighborhood Is Ready for a New Restaurant
When trying to decide if a Brooklyn neighborhood is ready for a new restaurant, consider the following telltale signs.
An area that’s growing in population is typically in demand of new sources of food, both in the form of grocery stores and restaurants. But before you sign a lease, make sure you’re not a part of a restaurant wave. Even though more people translates to higher demand, too many new restaurants can saturate the market and take away any advantage you thought you had.
Finally, make sure you can afford the rent. In more populated areas, you can expect to pay more per square foot in rent. With monthly retail rent ranging between $90 and $200+ per square foot in Brooklyn, you’ll want to crunch the numbers for every location you consider.
What types of cuisine are currently offered in a neighborhood? If you want to open a pizza shop in a neighborhood with mainly Mediterranean and seafood options, your restaurant is likely to be well received. On the other hand, choosing a neighborhood with several dozen pizza shops all within a small radius would leave you with an uphill battle.
A neighborhood that’s met our first two criteria (a growing population and no pizza) might seem like the perfect spot to open a new pizza shop. But have you checked the demographics? In other words, is there a demand for your type of restaurant?
Keep in mind that the absence of a similar restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a demand. You have to do your research. You may find out that a pizza shop opened in your target area just under a year ago. If you learn the shop only survived a few months, find out why. Was it due to poor management, failed health inspections, or a lack of interest from residents? This type of research will help you determine if a neighborhood is truly ready for your restaurant idea.
And finally, even if it does meet the demands and lifestyles of residents in your target location, make sure your prices fit their budgets as well.
Opening a New Restaurant in Brooklyn – Top Neighborhoods to Consider
Best neighborhoods for general restaurants
This approach won’t always guarantee a homerun, but one way to choose a restaurant location is by population. The following three neighborhoods have the highest populations in Brooklyn and could be the perfect home for your new restaurant. You may be able to find lower rent prices in some of the more up-and-coming neighborhoods, like Bedford-Stuyvesant.
- Bedford-Stuyvesant — With over 150,000 residents, Bedford-Stuyvesant is the highest populated Brooklyn neighborhood. However, with a higher unemployment rate, you’ll want to make sure your prices appeal to the masses.
- Bensonhurst — Bensonhurst is the second most populated neighborhood. It’s considered incredibly diverse, safe, and family-friendly, making it a great choice for a grab-and-go restaurant.
- Bushwick – Bushwick rounds out the top three most populated Brooklyn neighborhoods. You’ll find an incredible selection of dining genres in Bushwick. With a high population and plenty of diverse restaurants already present, you’ll need to have something exceptional to stand out from the crowd.
Best neighborhoods for family-friendly restaurants
With 33% of Brooklyn households having at least one child, ignoring this demographic when deciding on a restaurant can be a risk. While there will always be room for romantic 5-star restaurants, on most days of the week a family-friendly restaurant fits the bill. If your restaurant will have a kid’s menu, any of the following neighborhoods are perfect.
- Park Slope – Known for its relaxed atmosphere, Park Slope is the ideal location for a family-friendly restaurant. Don’t think you have to keep the décor on the childish side though. Park Slope residents still prefer a slightly elevated environment, even when dining with their children.
- Cobble Hill – Cobble Hill is small but mighty. Its strong focus on art translates to the palate as well. Currently, you can find everything from burgers to sushi to lamb agada. Cobble Hill is known as a more affluent area, so you may not have to be as conservative with pricing here if your dish delivers, including those for kids.
- Bay Ridge – Like any other Brooklyn neighborhood, Bay Ridge is diverse. It’s known for its Middle Eastern residents and has plenty of Middle Eastern restaurants for residents and tourists to explore. Families enjoy having additional cuisine options and while there are certainly pizza shops, bakeries, and Mexican hotspots to choose from, Bay Ridge is an excellent location for a new family-friendly restaurant to join in.
Best neighborhoods for upscale restaurants
Your food could be some of the best in New York, but you won’t succeed in Brooklyn if your prices are out of reach for local foodies. If your dream restaurant features tablecloths, 5-course meals, and deconstructed desserts, you’ll want to consider affluent Brooklyn neighborhoods. Keep in mind that the rent for restaurant space in such neighborhoods is sure to be pricier than in other areas.
- Carroll Gardens – This Brooklyn neighborhood is full of picturesque charm and plenty of Italian restaurants. Residents are upscale and enjoy cozy dining experiences and artisan food shops. The area is also known for its small business scene. The combination of upscale living and small business success makes it an ideal location to open a new prime restaurant.
- Fort Greene – Fort Greene has plenty of history and culture to offer residents and tourists, both of whom enjoy exploring restaurants and bars in a more relaxed, yet still upscale, environment. If you want to compete with locale fare, you’re going to need an enticing wine list and cocktail menu.
- Williamsburg – Williamsburg is setting trends throughout the borough and New York in general. It’s a serene neighborhood with residents from every generation, though it’s becoming a mecca for young professionals. If you’re looking to open an upscale restaurant that offers trendy and unique dishes, it will certainly find a home in Williamsburg.
If you’re considering opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn, take the time to match its menu with a Brooklyn neighborhood that will love it. No matter your restaurant idea, there’s sure to be a Brooklyn neighborhood where it can succeed.