Clinton Hill with Michelle Tillou

Gallerist, dealer & junction maker shares the best spots for yummy food, date nights and, of course, art

Clinton Hill with Michelle Tillou

– follow Michelle –

Director of Tillou Fine Art. Find her at @michelletillou and @tilloufineart

Michelle, her wife Margaret, and sons Rio and Felix photographed by Alexi Lubomirski

What brought you to Brooklyn?
Brooklyn felt like the happy medium to find balance between the excitement of the city’s offerings and still be able to sleep at night, raise kids, have a lot of space and feel relaxed. In Brooklyn you can live that big city life while not feeling like you’re living in a big city. NYC to me always feels all about the people — in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill you can feel the rich cultural history. My wife and I had explored every last bit of Manhattan since 1999—once we decided we wanted to settle down a bit and have kids, we knew we wanted something with a similar feeling, but more space and in a more relaxed neighborhood.

Professionally, the move to Brooklyn was also a game-changer for me. The gallery based in our home has allowed me to create a community with artists, collectors, and visitors that I couldn’t have dreamed of in the more formal environments that I was based in across the river.

What’s the best thing about your area?
The people… the neighbors… the cultural diversity… the streets… the trees… the architecture… the restaurants… the parks! 

What are your favorite spots in and around your neighborhood? 

Locanda Vini & Olii: Our neighborhood corner restaurant; the best northern Italian cuisine located in an old drugstore with the original sign

Mekelburg’s: The best Babka … specialty foods… organic produce… incredible sandwiches 

For All Things Good in Bed-Stuy: High quality vegetarian tacos, masa and tortillas that will blow your mind 

Mayflower: Speakeasy for date night drinks 

Choice Market: Our go to spot for lunch, coffee, and baked goods for breakfast 

La Rina Pastificio & Vino: Italian with superb handmade pastas and the best cocktails 

Colonia Verde: Latin American food with a greenhouse back room and a backyard that will make you feel like you’re on vacation 

Fan Fan: The best doughnuts

Aita: Fabulous dinner and brunch

Clementine: Bakery for vegan treats 

Otway: For lunch, and they recently opened a bakery with impeccable in house baked goods

Guevara’s: Coffee and vegan sandwiches with a lot of outdoor seating 

Ciao Gloria: Cool contemporary setting for yummy coffee and savory snacks

Rosalu Diner: One of our favorites. Their breakfast is fantastic 

Playground Coffee: Not only a coffee shop but a super cool community space hosting music, literary, and social events

Su’juk: Local community gem for vintage clothing, Turkish textiles, apothecary, jewelry and rituals

And of course, to connect with people and experience the culture, I’d always recommend people make an appointment and come by Tillou Fine Art, the gallery space I run from my brownstone on Cambridge Place!

Click here for our more Brooklyn guides by local insiders and, of course, our favorite Brooklyn Hotels

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