Downtown Brooklyn doesn't exactly have the best reputation for dining out ("this is a vast wasteland when it comes to good food," writes one hungry Chowhounder), but that could be changing in the next year, if a handful of new restaurateurs play their cards right.

Sugar and Plumm, a New Jersey-based cafe and sweet shop and the self-explanatory American BBQ and Beer Co. have just signed leases in a new space around the corner from Fulton Mall, in the very same building as the soon-to-open sandwich chain Panera Bread. Other new neighbors include former Top Chef-er Harold Dieterle's forthcoming upscale European restaurant Marrow, and a bunch of burger joints—notably, Five Guys and, of course, Shake Shack. And now that the borough's filthiest eatery, the City Tech cafeteria, has been shuttered, the neighborhood can only grow!

Whether or not the neighborhood will ever actually shake its reputation as a food wasteland involves some non-food related factors, too—something tells us that "rat tsunami" from nearby Atlantic Yards is causing some diners to lose their lunch instead.