Photography by Trevor Smith

Britt Maren


| Williamsburg

If we could cherry-pick an ideal life for ourselves, we imagine it’d look something like Britt Maren’s. The Swedish-born, Texas-raised model (yes, that’s Scandi genes and All-American— #Winning) made a name for herself when she opened the S/S ’11 show for downtown designer Alexander Wang (she was just 21 years old!) and since, she’s walked the runways of nearly every major fashion house— think Lanvin, Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel. Still, if being named a Vogue “It-Girl”, modeling for Victoria’s Secret and landing covers for L’Officiel and Vogue Germany weren’t enough to make us dream of a life swap, Maren’s choice in husband sealed the deal. Married to the head chef of Williamsburg’s The Heyward, we’re guessing he has that whole “breakfast-in-bed” thing down pat… Like we said, girl’s living the dream. Here, Maren sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: My husband, Derek Orrell and I really love Cafe Colette (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and Cafe Mogador (MAP IT, x). They are both super close to us, open early and delicious. We usually end up going out for breakfast more often than dinner because Derek works late at his own restaurant, The Heyward (*Location now closed). At Colette, I love the butter bean and kale stew topped with a fried egg and grilled sourdough. At Mogador, I love the Middle Eastern egg plate which comes with hummus, za’atar pita, Israeli salad, tabbouleh and eggs. Both orders never change because they are consistently delicious, comforting and satisfying.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee (MAP IT, x)— it’s super strong, but smooth. They offer almond and soy milk which I prefer, but it’s also just convenient (it’s on my corner so it’s very close to home).

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Way too many amazing restaurants to choose just one! I could never narrow it down. Jean-Georges (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Estela (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Narcissa (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Roberta’s (MAP IT, x), Momofuku Ssäm Bar (MAP IT, x), Di Fara (MAP IT, x), Marta (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Aquavit (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Eleven Madison Park (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)… I still really want to try the dessert tasting menu at Per Se (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)!

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Something with vodka or gin, club soda, citrus, fresh herbs and maybe a splash of St. Germain— nothing too sweet, but nice and refreshing. Hotel Delmano (MAP IT, x) is a really cool bar with a great cocktail list. I also love the cocktails (and food) at Meadowsweet (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— it’s run by a great husband-and-wife team and they grow fresh herbs along the windows to put in the cocktails.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Maison Premiere (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has a great happy hour: champagne and oysters!

MUSIC PICK: My husband has better taste in music than I do so he is usually the one to notice what’s playing. Some good soul and/or blues music is nice to have in the background at restaurants and bars.

BEST BRUNCH: Besides Cafe Colette, which I mentioned above, I love Isa (*Location now closed). The atmosphere is great: with the bricks and wood burning oven, it feels very homey. They make a delicious avocado sandwich with a fried egg, a breakfast pizza and a savory grain bowl with egg and seasonal vegetables.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Anywhere you can sit outside— Five Leaves (MAP IT, x), which is always bustling in Williamsburg, is great for that.

HEALTHY STAPLE: I love Shanti Shack in Williamsburg (MAP IT, x)— great juices, smoothies and healthy food that changes based on what’s in season!

GUILTY PLEASURE: I have a huge sweet tooth and love baked goods. My favorite cookie is from Levain Bakery (MAP IT, x), which I’m lucky is not located closer to where I live (on that note, please open in BK!). Pastry chef Jen Yee at Lafayette (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is amazing as well. I love everything she makes!

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Not necessarily a secret anymore, but I love Hillery Sklar (MAP IT, x) for facials in Williamsburg. She’s amazing at what she does and I hope my saying this doesn’t make it harder to get an appointment!

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: Walking, everywhere.

REGULAR AT: The restaurants I’ve mentioned above. For exercise, I frequent my local Pure Barre studio (MAP IT, x). It’s a great workout— high intensity, but low impact with lots of small, isometric movements. Their motto is “Lift, Tone, Burn” and it’s so true. I’m addicted!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: We don’t get to have too many date nights since my husband is a chef, but when we do, we love trying some of the top restaurants in the city. Most recently, we’ve eaten at Narcissa, Battersby (MAP IT, BOOK ITx), Delaware and Hudson (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and one of the pop-ups at the Wythe Hotel (MAP IT). Next up: Cosme (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Betony (*Location now closed) and The NoMad (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)!

DELIVERY GO-TO: We love Indian delivery. We get various things to share like Baingan Bharta, Chana Saag, vegetable Vindaloo and lamb Korma. Plus two orders of Peshwari Naan (slightly sweet naan with coconut, raisins, pistachios and almonds) because I do not share and need one all to myself…

DREAM SHOOT LOCATION: I’ve gotten to shoot at some pretty cool NYC places, but any of the fancy hotel penthouses with a great view would be nice…

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: We escape to Montauk (not in the summers) with our dog Zeus to get some fresh air. John’s Drive-In (MAP IT, x) is a must for milkshakes!

CLOSET CHECK: I love to be comfortable, but chic— both are important for me. I think it’s also cool to mix in some statement designer pieces along with some vintage classics.

ACCESSORIES PICK: I love Jennifer Fisher jewelry (I have a few rose gold pieces that I always wear) and Catbird (MAP IT, x)— they have great knuckle rings for stacking. When I’m feeling something a bit different, I go for bow & arrow nyc which is a collection of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces made by Native American artists. Thierry Lasry sunglasses are super chic and always in my handbag as well!

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I recently redecorated our whole apartment and found I’m really drawn to a mix of rustic and modern. I love pairing rustic wooden pieces like our dining room table I had made with more modern accents like our clear acrylic chairs. I love neutrals too: white, ivory, grey, champagne… I like to shop websites like One Kings Lane where you can browse many different types of décor at the same time. It’s also nice to mix in some classic vintage pieces. We inherited a beautiful marble coffee table from my husband’s grandparents and I had a modern brass cubed frame made for it.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I like food and drink-type gifts; you can’t go wrong with a great bottle of wine, some nice olive oil or anything homemade (like dessert)!

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Dana Ionato (x) at Sally Hershberger Downtown (MAP IT, x) does my color and I love, love, love what she does. She uses the balayage technique and creates more depth at my roots so the color blends nicely. I love the contrast of my dark roots with the lighter ends.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: For me, my NY moment was opening the Alexander Wang show for his S/S ’11 collection. It is so many girls’ dreams to be a part of something as iconic as one of his shows and it was everything I imagined it would be. CP

Britt’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Di Fara Pizza; Israeli plate at Mogador; Levain cookies; Tiny treasures from Catbird. Second Row: Cocktail at Hotel Delmano; Small plate at Cosme; Inside Café Colette; Jennifer Fisher earring.


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