Best of the Lower East Side: Coffee Shops

This week we’re highlighting some of the categories in our Best of the Lower East Side reader survey. Today — it’s all about coffee.

Roasting Plant Founder Saw Orchard Street as Incubator

After four years, one of the old kids on the block

One day way back in 2006, Mike Caswell spent several hours people-watching on the block of Orchard Street between Broome and Grand streets. The midtown real estate broker Caswell had hired to help him choose a site for the high-tech coffee shop he planned to open suggested a spot halfway down that block. At first, Caswell thought he was crazy.

“This street looked like a war zone,” Caswell says, sipping an Americano in a window seat of Roasting Plant, now in its fourth year. But his agent insisted that the Lower East Side was the place to find Caswell’s target demographic. So the industrial-engineer-turned-coffee-entrepreneur, who at that point had invested seven years developing his automated roasting and brewing system, agreed to check it out. From a table at 88 Orchard, one of the first new businesses to open on lower Orchard, he saw exactly the type of customers he believed would dig his 21st-century brewing system and premium product.

D’espresso

Minimalist coffee bar with a small selection of baked goods.

100 Stanton, near Orchard

(212) 982-7030

Hours Mon-Fri: 7:30am-8pm Sat: 8:30am-12am Sun: 8:30am-10pm

Web site

Wi-fi

Cocoa Bar

The Clinton Street cafe features good coffee, sandwiches, a full bar and (of course) exemplary chocolate and chocolate desserts. Cocoa Bar has wi-fi and is almost never crowded.

21 Clinton Street, near Stanton

212-677-7417

Hours: Mon-Thu: 7am-12am; Fri: 7am-1am; Sat: 8am-1am; Sun: 8am-12am

Web site

Birdbath Bakery

The organic cafe in the New Museum run by Maury Rubin of the City Bakery. There’s a nice selection of pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads.

235 Bowery, at Prince

212-219-1222

Hours Wed: 11am-6pm Thu: 11am-9pm Fri-Sun: 11am-6pm

Menu

Pushcart Coffee

pushcart coffee

Cusine: Coffee
Address: 221 East Broadway (at Clinton)/map
Phone: 212-876-8065
Hours:  Mon-Sun; 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Menu/web site
Reservations: n/a
Delivery: yes
 
Jamie Rogers and Lisa Fischoff run this community-oriented coffee shop on East Broadway.  They serve Stumptown Coffee, a selection of baked goods (many made by neighborhood friends) and offer sandwiches, soups and snacks, very often created with local ingredients. There’s a robust bulletin board in the entry announcing various local events and happenings.  And then there’s those pushcarts: increasingly popping up at various locations around the neighborhood.

 

Roasting Plant

A network of clear tubes instantaneously transplants raw beans to a roaster, resulting in a supremely fresh cup of java. A former Starbucks exec dreamed up the idea in his basement. The original store is on Orchard Street.

81 Orchard, near Broome

212-775-7755

Open Mon-Fri, 7am-6:30pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-6:30pm

Web site

Irving Farm

Bright, friendly coffee shop on Orchard with a good selection of teas, salads and sandwiches. They recently began offering a full dinner menu, with table service after 6pm, as well as wine and beer.

88 Orchard, at Broome

212-228-8880

Mon.-Thurs. 7:30-11PM, Fri. 7:30-midnight, Sat. 8:30-midnight, Sun. 8:30-7PM

Web site

 

Berkli Parc

A handsomely appointed space on the NW corner of Allen and Delancey serving soups, salads, sandwiches on Balthazar bread, and gourmet coffee from a menu owner Mark Hernandez calls “California cuisine.” Housemade baked goods light up the serving counter, and change daily. There’s also free wi-fi offered in a bright, comfortable space.

212-966-2737

61 Delancey St., at Allen.

Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily

Website

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