Lights On…In Lower Manhattan
By Kelly Rush
New Yorkers are known for needing their fixes and they know just the perfect spots at which to curb their cravings. In today’s edition, I bring you several new businesses that I predict will become favorites of people looking for coffee and comfort food. As usual, if you see any new retailers or spot changes to a long-time establishment, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll check them out.
Grandma’s House – 27 Peck Slip
This cozy spot, which looks more like your grandma’s kitchen than a restaurant, is a throwback to simpler times when a big meal and a hug made everything better. Or maybe old-fashioned milkshakes and mac and cheese just delude us into thinking life is great. Either way, diners can get filled up with delicious food and be happy for at least one hour of their day. The restaurant, which features large portions of comfort food, is already taking orders from Seamless. Popular menu options include the aforementioned mac and cheese, Angus hamburgers—called hambiggers—and the baby back sweet ribs.
The restaurant’s décor includes curtains in the windows, a white picket fence outside and flower boxes in the dining room. I love the idea of a slice of peaceful Americana in Manhattan’s financial center. And the prices aren’t bad either. A four cheese, four-layer grilled cheese is $7.50. Burgers and steak hero’s are around $10. Desserts begin around $2.50.
Tucked in between a nail spa and a barbershop is Blue Spoon, the second coffee shop from owner Heather Teegarden to grace Lower Manhattan. The first location on Chambers has been a favorite of the government crowd and residents on the go, and this new outpost is sure to attract its own loyal following.
The menu is a mix of deli classics with gourmet touches. For coffee, Blue Spoon brews direct-trade Intelligentsia. The sandwiches and panini include options such as the smoked turkey and brie with apples and honey mustard, roast beef and cheddar, and hummus with roasted red peppers on Balthazar ciabatta bread. Soups and salads also are available as well as homemade baked goods, such as chocolate chip cookies, scones and cupcakes.
Eager to leave her desk job in public relations, owner and native New Yorker Teegarden opened her first store in 2005 and assumed the lease of a struggling tea shop on Chambers Street. “It’s been such a great ride,” she says. “There is such an amazing sense of community here. I love my regular customers and am so excited to be recreating this energy at our new location on William Street!”
R&R Coffee – 76 Fulton Street
“R&R” stands for decades-long friendship, rest and relaxation and the perfect meeting spot for New Yorkers looking to sit down for a minute and share a pastry or two over great coffee. Co-owners Ron Julka and Richard Young (the R’s) have been friends for around 20 years, and they decided now was the time to open their version of the coffee shop in Lower Manhattan.
“We’re in love with the location,” Julka said. “We have tourists, residents and businesspeople, and more and more people are sticking around longer.”
The shop, a stone’s throw from the South Street Seaport and yet still close to Wall Street, features Intelligentsia beans and pastries by Ceca Cela. Coming soon are salads and sandwiches, bagels and an even greater selection of pastries and cookies.
The walls of this space are yet blank, but they’re considering looking to local artists to add splashes of color. However the coffee spot evolves, it’ll still feature friendly service and great food.
For more information on retailers in Lower Manhattan, visit the Alliance for Downtown New York at www.DowntownNY.com. You can check out an interactive map with details on hours, locations and services and search the events calendar. Or, stay connected through the Downtown Alliance iPhone app, available for download on the website.