hope & union; photo -- Youngna ParkForget all the reasons you might avoid going to Williamsburg and hop on the L-train to the Lorimer stop. Walk just past the new Barcade (bar + arcade) and follow the smell of chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls into Hope & Union Bakery-Café, a cozy neighborhood eatery run by the husband-wife team of Sigrid Benedetti and John Baron. Benedetti, a former pastry chef and the bakery’s proprietor, sat down with Gothamist and a (really) full glass of wine to chat about the charming neighborhood nook.

hope & union muffins -- Youngna ParkWith a recently expanded menu, back dining room, and (seasonal) garden, Hope & Union offers melt-in-your-mouth pastries all day long, and separate lunch and dinner menus. Their ham and swiss rolls, buttery pastry dough embedded with ham and cheese, have a devout—almost religious--following. Their turnovers are available on the weekends—perfect, with flaky dough and flavorful fruit and savory fillings. The glass case on the left side of the counter holds colorful cupcakes and pies; the case on right has some of Gothamist’s favorites: Scottish oat scones, cranberry corn muffins, and cinnamon rolls.

Lunch offers focaccia sandwiches on home-baked bread, with choices ranging from mortadella and green apple mustard to lemon roasted turkey with chipotle mayo and avocado. Dinner is an assortment of small and large plates starting at $3.00 up to $16.00 for a platter of cured means with condiments for two. Other small plates include baked mussels filled with spicy chorizo and arborio rice, and Israeli couscous with butternut squash, orange segments, and grated celery root. Baron also cooks up larger plates, combinations like Balsamic braised pork ribs with coleslaw and cornbread or homemade ricotta gnocchi with shitakes. Regardless of which meal you choose to eat at Hope & Union, Gothamist thinks you’ll walk away foggy-eyed and full of both food and conversation.

Though Hope & Union opened in July of 2003, the full dining room and open garden are new as of September 2004. A tired Benedetti said, “[running] this place is like having a child; time is at an absolute minimum.” However, she added that her favorite part was “seeing people” noting that “the regulars are the best.” In true Williamsburg fashion, Benedetti observed that “everyone here is doing their own thing so it’s a supportive neighborhood with a creative, entrepreneurial spirit.” With that in mind, Hope & Union’s menu continues to unfold and the work is never done. As icing on the cake, the music’s always just right, and the candle-lit room is comfortable and welcoming.

Wake up with coffee and a pastry or wind down with dinner and wine at Hope & Union. Besides, when they close up at 10, you can just take a few steps to the Barcade, grab a beer, and play Frogger all night long.

Hope & Union is located at 366 Union Avenue in Brooklyn and open Mondays for breakfast and lunch, 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Weekends, they are open for breakfas/brunch until 5 p.m. Note: They are closed for vacation until January 10th, but will reopen next Tuesday.