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Roberta’s Nears Deal for New Restaurant in Williamsburg’s Domino Complex, Developer Says

It would be in the shiny new 250 Kent Ave. property

260 Kent Ave
A rendering of 260 Kent Ave
Rendering by Cookfox

Roberta’s may soon be opening a long-awaited spinoff in a somewhat more straight-laced part of the city: the north Williamsburg waterfront.

The team behind the freewheeling Bushwick pizza restaurant is close to signing a lease at the $3 billion Domino Sugar mega-project, according to David Lombino, managing director of external affairs at the developer Two Trees. The exact location will be in 260 Kent, the mixed-use, Cookfox-designed building at the northern end of the site. The building is scheduled to open in 2019 and will be Williamsburg’s tallest, besting the nearby 1N4th and Level.

The deal isn’t finalized yet, but it would be major addition to the already big-name food and beverage options at Domino. The 325 Kent building will host an Italian restaurant from Lilia’s Missy Robbins and an outpost of popular Clinton Hill sandwich shop Mekelburg’s later this year. Danny Meyer also already operates taco stand Tacocina in the waterfront park that abuts the complex.

Any Roberta’s project will likely occupy a portion of the building’s podium, which will house the 13,000 or so square feet of retail. The tower will mix commercial office space — about 22 floors or 150,000 square feet — with 330 residential units, approximately 20 percent of which will be affordable.

If a version of the restaurant does land in the tower, it would be a sharply different setting from the original. Roberta’s rose to fame for its raucous outdoor tiki bar, DIY attitude, partying crowds, partying staff, in-house radio studio in a shipping container, artfully composed small plates, and cheekily named pizzas like the Cheesus Christ and Axel Rosenberg. It also played a huge role in spurring development around the Morgan Avenue L train stop, turning the area packed with industrial buildings into a hip restaurant and bar destination known for artsy vibes.

Roberta’s restaurant has also long operated Blanca, a two Michelin-starred tasting menu temple, as well as takeout bakeries in Bushwick and Midtown. But if this ends up as a full-service location for the restaurant, it would be just the third, following an about-to-open LA location. A large expansion seemed slated for the restaurant as the Tisch family appeared ready to acquire a significant stake in Roberta’s, but the deal fell through.

A spokesperson for Roberta’s said the restaurant has no comment at this time.


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