On a recent Friday, the lobby of Williamsburg’s Hoxton Hotel hums with life. Thirty-year-olds with blurred Zoom backgrounds rattle off status updates into their AirPods for all to hear, hotel guests strut down the stairwell with suitcases to LCD Soundsystem, and in the minutes before 5 p.m., a small crowd amasses around the room’s central elevator — the entrance to Laser Wolf, an acclaimed Israeli skewer spot on the hotel’s rooftop nine stories above. Dim the lights, and you could be looking at New York’s next hottest club.
It might surprise you to learn that not everyone is a guest of the hotel. An employee working the lobby that afternoon says the loiterers consist of a mix of locals who come here to work “from home” and visitors from out of town. Surveying the scene, it’s clear that a functioning ecosystem has been built around the free Wi-Fi and comfortable lounge furniture here. All that’s missing are cups of coffee and something to eat.
K’Far, the missing puzzle piece, opens on Tuesday, November 22. The new restaurant, whose name means “village” in Hebrew, comes from Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, the restaurateurs behind Philadelphia’s acclaimed Israeli restaurant Zahav. After opening an outpost of Laser Wolf at the Hoxton this spring, Solomonov and Cook are bringing a full-service restaurant, bar, and cafe to its ground floor.
At roughly 150 seats, K’Far is almost double the size of Laser Wolf upstairs, spread out across a central dining room and a smaller seating area in the back. In the lobby, nearby, the team will operate a cafe counter with coffee, pastries, and bagel sandwiches, along with a bar serving cocktails, Israeli wines, and beer.
Pull up a chair in any of these spaces and the philosophy of design immediately asserts itself: If a surface isn’t destined for food, put a potted plant on it. In the restaurant, the warm dining room is dressed for fall with salmon chairs, custom tiling, and orange booths that sort of resemble a nice pair of corduroy pants. In a few weeks, the team will extend service to a 40-seat enclosed patio whose roof can be opened in warmer months.
In Philadelphia, where K’Far opened in 2019, the bakery has become known for its “Yemenite lattes” (coffee mixed with cinnamon and cardamom), Jerusalem bagels (a crusty, elongated bagel dotted with sesame seeds), and other daytime fare. In Brooklyn, Solomonov wants the spot to be thought of as more of an any-occasion, all-day restaurant. The dining room can feel like more of a special occasion spot at night, but the fact there’s a takeout counter with pastries and coffee leaves open the possibility of “people coming down from their hotel rooms in pajamas,” he says.
The restaurant opens for breakfast at 8 a.m. each morning for coffee, pastries, and toasts toasts served on kubaneh, a Yemenite pull-apart bread that’s baked in the style of a Pullman loaf and then cut into slices. Baked goods, available from the restaurant and for takeout from the counter in the lobby, come from chef Katreena Kanney, who was on the opening team of K’Far in Philadelphia. In addition to the expected babka and rugelach, she’s making pistachio sticky buns and borekas stuffed with feta cheese.
Salads and a kubaneh patty melt join the menu around 11 a.m., and on weekends, look out for labneh pancakes, pita French toast, and shakshuka at brunch.
Dinner, which starts at 5 p.m. each night, is technically new. The meal made a brief appearance at K’Far in Philadelphia when the restaurant first opened, but just one of the dishes on the nighttime menu — the chraim, a tomato stew served with grouper and two long hot peppers — has been served before. The menu lists around eight appetizers and as many entrees, including a short rib with amba and passionfruit, and a unique take on chicken schnitzel that’s breaded in shredded filo dough.
In other words, it’s non-stop eating. “In Israel, meals don’t start or stop,” Solomonov says. “They carry on.” Find K’Far in the lobby of the Hoxton hotel, Sunday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight.