Welcome back to Quick Bites, it's been a while — our first installment since the pandemic hit brings us to Park Slope for perfect picnic treats.


It's obviously extremely less than ideal to open a restaurant days before the entire city shuts down because of highly contagious deadly disease, but in some ways Daniel Eddy and his neighborhood bakery/cafe — called Winner — was uniquely positioned to adapt to our collective COVID-19 nightmare. For one thing, Eddy, who once ran the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Rebelle on Bowery, told me he always intended for Winner to be a local spot (he lives just a few blocks away), so he didn't need destination diners to make it work.

Even more fortuitously, the Winner menu of breads, breakfast pastries, sandwiches, and roast chicken is already family- and takeout-friendly, and maybe even more appealing than usual during a time when many of us have been craving comfort foods. So far, the neighborhood has responded: all three times I went recently there was a (short) line to order from the window on 11th Street, and people milled about near the entrance on 7th Avenue to wait for their food. In both areas, both staff and customers were masked up and instinctively distancing.

There's a hodgepodge of tables under the trees along 11th Street if you need to sit for a coffee and pastry, a quick snack, or a sandwich. But really, if you don't live nearby, the benches and lawns are waiting for you in Prospect Park just two blocks away. The interior, which will not be open for the foreseeable future, promises to be bright and airy (it's the former Hugo & Sons space), and Eddy also has plans to eventually open a wine bar and small plates spot in the adjoining carriage house.


Everything I've eaten from Winner's window has been excellent, starting with a couple of huge, deeply tangy loaves of Sourdough — one regular, another punched up even more with black pepper, cheddar, and polenta — from the kitchen's bread master Kevin Bruce. I've eaten a ton of different bread from bakeries all over Brooklyn and Manhattan during the quarantine phase of our pandemic, and Bruce's definitely ranks among the very best. The pastries, from chef Ali Spahr, are equally top-notch, especially the sweet, sticky Monkey Bread that's been an off-menu special at least twice in recent weeks.

With all that good bread on hand it's no surprise that Winner's sandwiches, which make up the bulk of the daytime menu, are terrific. The creamy Chicken Salad sits within half a loaf of ciabatta, and the smokey bird and herbed-up mayo more than hold their own under the bread. I also wanted to try the baguette, and the Vegetable Banh Mi proved to be a wholly satisfying version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich, with a portobello mushroom mixture standing in for the usual pig products, cilantro and various pickles playing their usual role of brightening things up.

Winner's dinner begins at 5 p.m. sharp and, in addition to serving a set "friends and family" meal prepared by a rotating series of guest chefs, Eddy also offers a fantastic Chicken Dinner feast every night. The full-flavored bird is smoked, roasted, and juicy through and through, and the generously-portioned sides (each order is easily enough for two people, and could probably even work for four if you had a loaf of bread going too), are also worth getting excited about, including some butterball potatoes cooked in chicken drippings, and a delicious succotash-like concoction of beans, sweet corn, broccoli and herbs. You can preorder anything at Winner the day before via email, and you must do so to secure yourself a chicken.


Winner winner chicken dinner! It's easy to see why Park Slope locals are loving this place, and it's definitely worth a bike ride from points beyond to picnic on Eddy, Spahr, and Bruce's creations. Winner seems poised to make it through the pandemic, which is excellent news for everyone.

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Winner is located at 367 Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, at the corner 11th Street, and is currently open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (winnernyc.com)