Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to DUMBO's new Empire Stores complex for some cookies and hot dogs.

THE VIBE
DUMBO, in case you haven't noticed, has changed. In just the past decade the neighborhood has gone from wedding-photo backdrop with few restaurant or bar options, to one of the borough's priciest residential zip codes, to today's tech enclave and tourist playground. Case in point: the new Empire Stores complex that took over that old warehouse on Water Street and is now home to, among other things, VHH Foods, a cafe-like offshoot of nearby favorite Vinegar Hill House.

VHH Foods sits just inside the main entrance of Empire Stores, so it lacks the terraced front and true waterfront views enjoyed by its neighbor Cecconi's, but this is still a pleasant place to eat some food on a nice day. You do get a glimpse of the Manhattan Bridge from your chair as well, which is nicely framed by the brick archways that are the building's dominant feature.

But an even better option is to take your provisions outside to any number of spots in the park. And judging by the lack of crowds up on the Empire Stores' lovely little roof deck, this is still a largely undiscovered vantage point/snacking place. There are a couple of tables inside by the ordering counter, but save that as your winter option.

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(Photo by Scott Lynch/Gothamist)

THE BITES
As you might expect, the short VHH Foods menu is packed with picnic-type dishes and portable snacks. Up in the "proteins" section I chose the Smoked Chicken (the Grilled Hanger Steak and Red Wattle Pork sounded equally good), and was delighted by how juicy and deftly-prepared this bird was, with tender meat, crisp salty skin, and no hint of over-smoking.

Your meat comes only with a couple of nondescript rolls, so you'll definitely want an order or three of the salads. The ones I tried were all excellent, including a snappy Vietnamese Cabbage number (complete with crushed peanuts, a basil-mint-cilantro combo, and a bit of fishiness for added depth); a terrific Stracciatella and Zucchini concoction, which delivered bold flavors (the za'atar helps) along with creaminess and crunch; and a perfect Eggy Potato Salad topped with bread and butter pickle chips for a bit of sweetness and acid.

There are also three hot dogs available at VHH Foods, the well-seasoned sausages via the ever-reliable Meat Hook. Fennel, pickled mustard seed, and a bit of dill topped off the version I ate, but the large and lackluster bun threatened to overwhelm each bite. Pastries fill the cases at the coffee and food counters, but I didn't particularly care for either of my cookies—a somewhat mysterious Yellow and White and a pretty straightforward Chocolate Chip—both of which strayed too far into savory/salty territory to really satisfy as a dessert.

THE VERDICT
Given its location VHH Foods is likely to be dominated by tourists (it definitely was last Sunday evening) but there is high-quality food being served here, and area workers feeling spendy, locals looking for a new to-go option nearby, and everyone taking out-of-town visitors on the DUMBO portion of their grand tour should consider adding it to their list of neighborhood options.

VHH Foods is located at 55 Water Street between Dock and Main Streets, though the closest entrance is right off the park near Jane's Carousel. The restaurant is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (718-243-1569; vhhfoods.com)