Ainslie is the newest restaurant on the block in Williamsburg, but the team is anything but new. Sergio and Mario Riva with partner AJ Bontempo of South Village Hospitality, the team behind Carroll Place, Osteria Cotta and Follia are responsible for Ainslie coming to life.
The kitchen is run by Chef John DeLucie, with Erasmo ‘Mino’ Lassandro leading the pizza making and. Jessica Duré, formerly from Broken Shaker, rounds out the team to run the beverage program.
The venue was converted from the former home of the WM. Cable Excelsior Wire MFG. Company: it was preserved and modernized for the restaurant and is the last remaining remnant of the factory, which once occupied the entire block and still oozes with all of the history. The restaurant kept the ambiance of the factory and pieces of it have been woven into the current design like the old tin ceiling that is now wainscot material, and salvaged heavy timber was turned into furniture and bars.
The space is an expansive 10,000 square feet that feels like it was converted from the coolest warehouse party you ever went to, which then makes sense that they have a DJ From Wednesday-Saturday from dinner until close. The wine bar and open kitchen area seats 90 and you can view the staff cooking the wood fired pizza. In the back you have you have your 70 seat beer garden. Upstairs there is a Moulin Rouge-esque area with its velvet seating, hanging chandeliers and sexy lighting that can seat 60 of your bougie friends. And for those that like to rooftop hop, yes they have this too, and can accommodate 50 people on the roof deck and bar for warmer months. And we haven’t even gotten to the food and drinks!
The drink menu Duré concocted heavily relies on Italian aperitif notes to accompany the Italian menu and the names of the cocktails pay homage to the ancestry of the space. The drink menu also includes 20 wines by the glass, four wines and 16 beers from local craft breweries on tap. We tried out many during our visit including the Funky Sweet Thing, a mixture of Rye whiskey, ginseng, lavender, honey and lime and the Electric Blue, comprised of Milagros Blanco Tequila, Chili, Maraschino, Lo-Fi Gentian, ginger and lime.
For the food, you cannot come here and not get the pizza. The brushette, with combinations like mascarpone and thyme-infused honey are a great way to start the meal. The Pork Ragu sliders are a tasty starter too. Also, do NOT sleep on the chicken parm, as it’s one of the better versions of the dish I’ve had.
This place is really perfect for any occasion and the Ainslie has a space for whatever you’re looking to host, be it friends, dates, coworkers, family, corporate parties, etc. We can’t wait to see how this place evolves in the neighborhood, because we’ll definitely be back.
– Stephanie Carino
76 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Photos by Socially Superlative