NYC Bite: Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe
Missing summer? Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe will bring you right back. It’s incredible location on one of the most beautiful corners in the West Village is hit by vibrant sunlight all day long. And, with floor-to-ceiling windows, rustic decorations, and a colorful, healthy menu, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported right into mid-July. Or Australia.
Bluestone Lane coffee shops have been wildly successful all over the city, and Sappho Hatzis, the founder and renowned Australian restaurateur, opened up this new, “collective” cafe with the hopes of bringing the Aussie coffee experience to New York City. This experience is distinguished by the highest quality coffee, a well-lit interior, delicious food, and a communal vibe. The goal of the collective cafe is to change people’s perception of consuming coffee—moving the value from getting in your caffeine fix to actually experiencing the process of drinking coffee in a comfortable environment. Sappho wants every customer to leave feeling like not only a local, but also a coffee connoisseur. The elegantly decorated interior features two separate spaces. The first looks out on to west village traffic and contains chic wooden tables and a polished concrete counter. The second space is an open-air courtyard surrounded by four, ivy-covered brick walls. An inviting white bench wraps around the perimeter and the same wooden tables fill in the middle. Since its advent in 2014, the collective café has been a massive hit. But crowds of this size don’t come just because of lighting or ambiance—it’s the simple, yet incredible food and drinks that keep the lines forming.
Let’s start with the coffee. Bluestone Lane sources the finest, organic fair-trade beans, roasted by professionals to maximize the rich flavors within. The baristas are trained artisans capable of whipping up some of the city’s best drinks. And, the state-of-the-art espresso machine doesn’t hurt. Bluestone Lane’s product is heavily influenced by Melbourne-style coffee, “where premium coffee is a way of life.” While anything you order will probably succeed in changing the way you understand coffee, their signature drink, the flat white, attracts coffee aficionados from all over the globe. I highly recommend giving it a try. In case you don’t know, a flat white contains two shots of espresso, and is topped of with a bit of microfoam. This foam differs from the foam in a cappuccino in that it is not completely frothed—it’s just steamed. Basically, it isn’t heated up as much, which creates a creamier, richer drink.
As for food, you really can’t go wrong. Bluestone Lane sells freshly baked pastries from its most acclaimed West Village neighbors, which include Balthazar and The Doughnut Plant. They also make a few of their own daily pastries that are worth sinking your teeth into. The brunch menu is phenomenal, containing their famous Collective Granola (House-made, lightly toasted mix of oats, coconut chips, seeds and nuts, served with Greek yogurt, blood orange curd, fresh raspberries and blueberries), The Avocado Smash (on Balthazar toast with tahini, heirloom cherry tomatoes, feta, sunflower sprouts and olive oil), and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (served with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and bananas, topped with honey, maple syrup and cinnamon butter). The lunch menu is just as impressive, with specialty sandwiches, salads, and snacks.
I ordered the Brekki Board (Half potions of both Collective Granola and Avocado Smash). It was brought to me on a characteristically simple, rustic wooden board.
The yogurt was topped with a mouthwateringly fresh orange curd and amazing granola—every bite had a different combination of texture and flavor from each of the delicious ingredients. The fruit was so fresh, delectable juice bursting out of each berry.
Then, I dove into the Avocado Smash. It was served on a slice of warm whole grain bread, baked at Balthazar that morning. The avocado mash on top was seasoned with lemon zest, which went great with the sweet tomatoes and salty feta. Garnished with sprouts and a splash of extra virgin olive oil, all of the wonderful ingredients came together perfectly.
Bluestone Lane Collective Café is truly a unique spot. For some reason, it’s hard to find both great food and great coffee at the same place in New York. Bluestone Lane has both, which is why more and more people are crowding it’s beautiful interior each and every day.