NEW YORK CITY'S IN-STORE CAFES
The in-store café used to be the exclusive purview of chain booksellers, expensive salons & swanky department stores — you could get an egg cream from the Woolworth’s soda counter, a glass of decaf while your dye set, stale scones at Borders.
We’ve been noticing a new trend in the types of places you can eat while you shop lately, so Put A Egg On It decided to tour several of these spots in NYC, and we found their origin stories as varied as their offerings. Some are entrepreneurs teaming up to combat space issues and bonkers rent, while the larger chains are offering snacks to set themselves apart or up foot traffic.
At Rose Bakery inside Dover Street Market, both businesses are owned by Comme des Garçons under the umbrella of their department store concept. Their strawberry donut is swoony (don’t try to take it near the clothes, though). When we tried to order the mint Arnold Palmer, our server Luke informed us that Wiz Khalifa and his crew had come by the day before and finished their entire stash.
In Williamsburg, we chatted up head barista Vanessa Haddad at Parlor Coffee in Persons of Interest Barbershop, who views co-shared storefronts as a response to shifting economic climates and challenging retail markets. “[Parlor] didn’t have a roastery or retail spot before POI,” she told us, “just great coffee with no overhead or investors.”
So it seems like these spots might be part of a larger post-recession trend toward diversified skillsets and unlikely partnerships. Perhaps convenience is entering the realm of the discerning customer, rendering simple storefronts one-stop-shops to appeal to the journeywomen and Renaissance men of today. Maybe when we buy a donut beside a $75 tube of face cream, we’re merely witnessing the boutique analog of the big box store! Tastier than Target popcorn, if you ask us.
-Photos by Sarah Forbes Keough