Radio Star is a Mediterranean restaurant, bar, and cafe inspired by the radio era of the 1940s and located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, adjacent to Transmitter Park at 13 Greenpoint Ave, the westernmost end of a nascent restaurant row. It is the second restaurant from proprietor Sara Conklin, who has owned and operated the beloved nearby Glasserie restaurant since 2013.
As of Wednesday, November 15th, Radio Star is officially open all day, every day, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sara collaborated on the creation of the menu with Yusuf Lovett, who has been the chef at Glasserie for the past two years. The breakfast and lunch services offer savory and sweet pastries, sandwiches, and sides with flavors influenced by Sara’s growing up overseas in the Middle East. The dinner menu features more substantive entrees and sides. Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, including flour from Wild Hive Farm (delivered by the Schooner Apollonia right to a nearby pier in Greenpoint).
“We are going for northern Italian trattoria meets 1940s diner with Mediterranean fare,” says Sara. “Radio Star is for the people: a place you can go for an espresso anytime, or a full meal. Pop in for a cocktail at 4pm and then maybe back for a breakfast sandwich at 8am the next day. We are here for everyone and always good for a chat across the bar.”
Food menu highlights include:
- Saffron pastry – phyllo pastry filled with cream cheese, glazed in orange blossom saffron and cinnamon syrup
- Cauliflower and goat cheese quiche
- Merguez in a blanket
- Smoked short ribs – Niman ranch short ribs, rubbed in dry cure and set overnight, smoked for several hours before a final braise in chicken stock. Glazed to order and served with smoked heirloom tomato sauce and Marcona almonds
- Mushroom filo pie – roasted maitakes, slow-cooked onions and Swiss chard in house-smoked labne
- Olive oil poached cod – salted cod, seared and gently poached in olive oil with crushed fingerling potatoes
- Pork cheeks – glazed pork cheeks, gently warmed dates in dry aged beef fat, served with labne and house harissa
- Oat milk shake – almond, vanilla, tahini and oat milk – spike-able for dessert!
The beverage program centers around an Old World wine list with Greece, Slovenia, and Croatia highlighted, in addition to an eclectic, seasonally-driven cocktail list, and local draft beer selection, including a custom Radio Star lager that Sara created with Michael Messinie of Dutchess Ales. There is also a wide offering of refreshing no-ABV drinks, such as a No-groni, a ginger shrub, and iced turmeric tea, as well as a full-fledged espresso and coffee program, and tea by the pot as well.
There are 40 seats inside Radio Star, with 12 seats on the front patio and seating for 50 on a side patio in warmer weather. The fixtures and furniture are original from the 1940s time period, featuring many elements that Sara personally collected from around the world: original chrome soda fountain diner stools, an oak banquette booth, a stunning oak Werneke Globe barristers bookcase, Gilbert Rohde tables, Czech bakelite pinspot light fixtures, Midgard Curt Fischer steel funnel lamps, and Mek Elek adjustable steel table lamps. There is also a private space in the back that can be used for special events.
The restaurant is intentionally a fully gas-free venue. “We take being green seriously and were in lengthy conversations with our favorite neighborhood group, Friends of Transmitter Park, about how to operate in a responsible manner,” said Sara. She has been composting at Glasserie for some time and will implement it at Radio Star as soon as possible. “We have and will pay significantly more to operate a fully gas-free venue. The kitchen, heat, etc are all electric. This choice was a significant one and makes a statement of turning away from fossil fuels, which is better for the environment as well as the health of staff working on premises. All of our to-go packaging is compostable. We are utilizing rainwater run-off to water our plants when possible. This is an ongoing project and something we consider a lifestyle.”
The restaurant pays homage to Transmitter Park, which was the home of WNYC. The post-war period was a time when transparency was needed among the American public, and radio brought people together for news and entertainment. Two radio towers in the park stood at 304 feet, broadcasting to all of NYC and dominating the Greenpoint skyline. WNYC rebuilt trust in the city and beyond, serving as the model for public broadcasting.