I’ve been to Birch Coffee a few times and considered keeping it a secret. In a neighborhood that could be mistaken for Midtown because of an overwhelming number of chain restaurants, Birch stands out as a rare find. The cafe is connected to the lobby of the swanky Gershwin Hotel, and is hard to miss despite the construction out front. The facade is painted in a vibrant red and outfitted with horns protruding into the street (you read that correctly). While the attached hotel may be new-wave and trendy, Birch Coffee is a well-executed return to what makes a cafe ideal.
Tag Archives: Cafe
Food in Midtown East is often either too expensive or too boring (soups, salads, and sandwiches). Güllüoglu was featured in RealCheapEats‘ list for a while, and I immediately added it to my list when I noticed the location. Güllüoglu is a Turkish cafe known for serving up 12 varieties of baklava, a Turkish pastry made with phyllo dough, crushed nuts, and sweetened with syrup and honey. After asking for a Turkish coffee ($2.75), I skipped past the menu’s entrees and went straight for their specialties. The waitress returned a few minutes later (without my drink) to ask how I can drink coffee without sugar, a question I didn’t know how to answer.
My research of Everyman Espresso led me to expect an arrogant bunch of hipster-baristas, and my suspicion was confirmed while Derek and I waited on the line. We overheard a girl ask Sam Penix, the owner, for a vanilla latte. I cringed. I figured it was her first time outside of Starbucks. Sam gave a curt explanation for why their coffee isn’t flavored: “It’s that damn good.” The phrase was also written on their menu, which was unusually pricey. My latte was $4.25 and Derek’s cortado cost him $3.75. We passed on the baked goods which are supplied local businesses.
I made the journey to Berkli Parc Cafe through the rain, on the way hoping I wouldn’t be disappointed. Berkli Parc opened up less than a year ago directly across a Starbucks. I initially categorized it as a sandwich shop, and neglected to notice they were also known for their coffee. Instead of getting a sandwich, I ended up with a Strawberry Fields ($3.75/$4.25)–one of their specialty drinks–and a Pistachio Biscotti (75 cents).
Tanto Dulce Cafe is a small, charming cafe nestled in the middle of what can generously be described as a food wasteland. It’s a gem among a series of bodega-delis and fast food joints. Whenever I meet a friend in the neighborhood, Tanto Dulce cafe is usually the go-to spot.
I needed something caffeinated to complete my breakfast, which started at the Doughnut Plant. dora was right around the block, and I suspected it was new in town since I never heard of it til Serious Eats included them in a Best Coffee slideshow.
Ost Cafe is an exceptional coffee shop in the East Village, a place littered with cool cafes on every block (Starbucks wouldn’t survive a day around here). What struck me immediately was that it looked more like a bar that was brightly-lit (courtesy of the sunshine streaming in through the open floor-to-ceiling window/doors).