A couple of years ago, long-time restaurant consultant Malcolm Stogo went to Brazil with a friend to look at a coffee plantation. That friend was pondering building a bean-to-cup cafe in Germany, but Stogo recognized immediately the potential that idea held for New York City. So his group purchased the plantation, and in early April, they’ll open Brazilia Cafe (684 Broadway, 212-858-0732), which will serve coffee made from the beans grown on their own estate.
“We have the only coffee in Manhattan, I believe, that comes from beans we actually own,” says Stogo. “It comes from our plantation in Brazil. Our coffee is truly seed to cup.” And it’ll be showcased predominantly at a sit-down coffee bar, where nine silos will hold different beans and roasts. Order a coffee there, and a barista will grind and brew your cup to order. You’ll also be able to partake in coffee tastings, which Stogo compares to wine tastings. “It’s very individualized,” he says. “If you love coffee, you’ll love our bar.”
That process will take about ten minutes, and if you don’t have time to wait, Brazilia will also offer quick counter service near the front of the shop.
Coffee is just one part of what Stogo and his team have planned; they’re also building out a juice bar and a gelato counter, and they’ll offer a board of housemade pastries and made-to-order sandwiches and salads that’ll be available for takeout and served in a full-service section toward the back of the space. “The idea was to have a cafe that was centered around coffee, but everything we do is totally scratch,” says Stogo. “We’re making everything” — including the gelato — “on premises, and it’s of the highest quality possible.”
Look for a breakfast menu that includes quiches, empanadas, and cold smoked fish platters; a soup list that includes traditional Brazilian feijoada; and sandwiches that come stacked with ham and cheese, manchego and quince, and peanut butter, Brazil nuts, and preserves. Order those sandwiches to go, and they’ll be built and wrapped in front of you. “It’s a European approach to retail,” says Stogo. “U.S. packaging doesn’t even come close. Sandwiches will be wrapped as a gift.”
And the juice bar, says Stogo, won’t track Brazilian juice stands so much as it’ll resemble the cold-pressed juice bars that now pepper the NYC dining landscape, offering fruit and vegetable juices plus smoothies.
This is Brazilia’s flagship location, and “we spent a lot of time and money building this cafe,” says the owner. Finishes are imported from Italy, and the space is built out with a combination of light woods, bark, and stone.
Brazilia will open sometime around April 3, but it’ll celebrate its grand opening at the end of the month, when the scaffolding on the building where its located is removed.