Thursday, the Accidental Locavore was wandering around Chelsea checking out two newcomers, Haven’s Kitchen and the Startup Shop (beta). Over the weekend, a Startup Store (beta) was hosting Coffee Common. Don’t let the name fool you for a second, there is nothing common about these coffees or the baristas flown into teach you how to brew a perfect (obsessive) cup. The store is an interesting concept, starting in February (when it moves out of beta, whatever that means for a retail store…before you know it we’ll have restaurants or plays in beta…save me), there will be a new collection organized around a theme, February’s being “Love”. But for now, there are a lot of coffee geeks standing around several well placed bars, seriously sipping extremely carefully brewed, organic, fair-trade coffee made for them by champion baristas.
Oh, and please don’t make the mistake the Locavore did and innocently ask if there is either anything to drink besides coffee and/or if there’s milk and sugar for it. Didn’t I tell you this is serious obsessive stuff? Therefore, nothing must get in the way of the true coffee experience. Not being a coffee fan, I’m out of there, but looking forward to checking back in next month. Don’t you think love is more interesting than coffee?
On to a much more pleasant newcomer: Haven’s Kitchen. Run by Alison Schneider, it’s a beautiful carriage house in Chelsea. Possibly because it just opened the day I was there, or more probably, by design, it truly feels like a haven. While a Startup Shop feels like a place curated by geeks, Haven’s Kitchen is simply a pleasure for all the senses. The retail space is big and open, with some gorgeous tea tins on the left and everything you would need for making pancakes (or for giving as hostess gifts) on the right. There’s a big hunk of marble in the center and a coffee bar beyond that. In the back, is the space for cooking classes and a spiral staircase going up to a private dining room.
Alison is committed to presenting sustainable food in a communal (in all the best senses of the word) setting. The cooking classes run the gambit, from basics, like knife skills, to more advanced/adventurous: fonds and charcuterie. The upstairs dining room will be available for private parties and monthly Supper Club (can’t wait to check that out!). Unfortunately, when the Locavore was there, I only had a few minutes to scope out the place, but I am definitely going back next week for a more leisurely perusal.
Which would be your preferred haunt?