There's a strong porchetta game in Rome, where most neighborhoods boast their own rosticceria for procuring succulent slices of seasoned pork on crusty bread. The best I'd ever had was at a poorly named takeout-style spot in the Trastevere area—that was until I tried the version they're making at Mekelburg's in Clinton Hill. The thinly sliced pork is tender and moist, there are crunchy bits of pork skin I could eat like popcorn, and broccoli rabe adds a nice touch of bitterness to balance all the pork fat. In short, it's a perfect sandwich.
Daniel and Alicia Mekelburg began their culinary journey through their NY Bite Club, a secret supper club that stopped being a secret once word got out about their outstanding meals. Along with operations manager Jennifer Lee, the trio opened their namesake spot, though defining exactly what they do there takes a bit of explaining. "I like to call it a grocery store, a cheese shop, a restaurant and a bar," Daniel told me.
Up front, one can procure gourmet grocery items like bitters, hot sauces, pastas and hummus, as well as a curated selection of charcuterie—try the Turkish Salami and duck prosciutto—and cheeses like Jasper Hill Farm's Harbison ($24), which they'll melt in the oven for you and give you some bread for scooping. Walk past the shelves of private label olive oil, babka and fish sauce and you'll be inside the restaurant-bar component, which is where the team serves their excellent prepared foods, as well as craft beers, wines and spirits.
For autumn, a creamy ball of burrata ($13) from Lioni Latticini is heated in warm water then left to slowly melt and ooze over a slice of warm, roasted acorn squash. Don't balk at the idea of the hot anchovy dressing, either; it's salty and rich and an excellent foil to the sweet squash, as are the house-roasted pickled peppers. House-made is something of a theme here, as they're also making their own roast beef from wagyu beef for a sandwich ($15) completed by Everton cheese, arugula, horseradish and an everything baguette, plus that porchetta.
Both the market and restaurant components open weekdays at 8 a.m. and weekends at 10 a.m. for shopping and breakfast-eating. It's also not unusual for people to come in for a pint after work and then pick up ingredients to make a meal at home (they're open til 1 a.m. on the weekends).
Out back are picnic tables and while the weather holds out it's a quiet place to work, drink or eat, with tree heaters providing warmth on chillier afternoons and evenings. There are plenty of tables inside to perch at, too, and the space has Wifi for working; "we've made a commitment to outlets," Daniel joked. And if you need a break, you can doodle on the chalkboards that rim the dining area.
293 Grand Avenue, 718-399-2337; website