Two weeks ago today, Manny's cafe and restaurant, located at 212 Patchen Avenue between MacDonough and Halsey streets, opened its doors.
Manny's has taken over the space of the old Crave Cafe -- located directly across the street from Excellence Boys charter school -- and is under the same management and ownership as the wildly popular "Choice Dynasty," which includes Choice Greene, Choice Market and Dough.
Why is this dynasty so popular? Because the food is -- in one word -- exceptional!
Like Choice Market, Manny's also sells an array of creative, fresh and well-prepared dishes, including vegetable fritatas, a variety of quiches, quinoa with grapes and pineapple; lamb and yams sandwiches; roasted lamb stew; roasted turkey sandwiches with cranberry spread, arugula and brie; ginger cheesecake, a variety of salads, bottled cold beverages and espresso coffees.
"This is the first one of their places geared towards a restaurant as opposed to just a walk-in cafe," said Seble Maza, Manny's manager and a Fort Greene resident. "I'm a long-time friend of Thierry (the owner), and they know that I'm more geared toward cultivating relationships, so they asked me to come here.
"I'm really loving this area; this is what Fort Greene looked like 14 years ago. And already, I have people who are coming in regularly, stopping through, sometimes just to say 'hi.'"
All of Manny's pastries are prepared fresh daily and delivered each day from Choice Market and Choice Greene. The restaurant's grill is not yet working, so made-to-order hot food items are stalled for now. But prepared meats and other hot foods are brought over daily from the restaurant's sister location and are used for the sandwiches and other pre-made dishes.
"Once the grill is fixed and we're fully up and running, we'll have a very similar menu as Choice Greene, but geared a little more towards families, much more of a restaurant feel," said Maza.
Also, Manny's will be delivering full dinners-- a new concept for the owners.
"Let's say you're working late on Friday, and you and your husband don't want to cook and you have kids," said Maza. "You can call us Thursday and say I'd like a roast lamb with brussel sprouts and a side of mashed potatoes and I need to pick it up at 7:00.
"So we will be delivering full-on complete dinners-- whole legs of a lamb and full chickens-- as opposed to individual meals.
Also, the price point is a little lower for some items than at Choice Market or Choice Greene. For instance, their Dough doughnuts are 25 cents cheaper.
"You know, I'm still feeling out the prices, but there were some things that I just thought were too pricey to be over here," she added, "just because we want to fit into a wider demographic. And considering we're right across the street from a school, there are also a lot of children.
"I want them to be able to walk in and buy a cookie if they want. So I dropped the prices of our cookies, our doughnuts... We really just want to address the community."
Manny's is open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and on weekends from 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.