Don't let your real estate agent fool you: visiting Bedford Hill Coffee Bar (343 Franklin Avenue at Greene) still finds you in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but local residents (this writer included) and border disputers alike have entrepreneur Allison Stewart to thank for putting another high quality café in the Do or Die.
Bedford Hill joins Saraghina Café, and earlier neighborhood pioneer Tiny Cup, in the slow climb of Bed-Stuy out of deli (and Crown Fried Chicken) coffee hell—not to mention the legion of Franklin Avenue coffee contenders (Breuckelen Cafe and The Pulp and the Bean just down the road a piece in Crown Heights.)
The just-right-sized shop sits just a couple steps below street level at the corner of Franklin and Greene Avenues, in the shell of a former photography studio and check cashing place. Stewart's renovated the space in the current salvage-chic mode; old doors and wainscotting sit atop beautiful, vividly hand-silkscreened floor tile.
The coffee's great for the neighborhood (though one day we'd love to not use such disclaimers), offering espresso-only beverages from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (!) roaster Anodyne. Stewart says she doesn't have room to do a drip bar, but there is a selection of baked goods from Ovenly and bagel-based sandwiches. My cappuccino is lushly frothed, though the espresso blend stays on the safe side. (Anodyne's website somewhat alarmingly describes their espresso as "tastes like coffee smells", but hey, we gotta start somewhere.)
Check out Bedford Hill, no matter what neighborhood you think it's in!