Standing on the corner of Clinton Street and East Broadway, Pushcart Coffee is not, as the name might suggest, a coffee cart, but is, in fact, a lovely little coffee shop. Better still, it’s a couple of blocks from the Chinatown hotel I normally stay in when I’m in New York, which makes it a great first stop in the morning. In Pushcart’s defence, the three-wheeled cycle-powered cart which sits outside and gives the store its name, is in regular use, taking coffee to the people at events around New York.
Pushcart Coffee is rooted in its neighbourhood, using local produce where possible and baking much of it on the premises. It’s also in a lovely old building which used to be a butcher’s shop. It’s pretty small, but nonetheless manages a cosy, friendly atmosphere. However, the main focus is on the coffee and I have to say that I was impressed, particularly with Pushcart’s speciality, the cortado, which forms the perfect compliment for the Stumptown Coffee.
March 2014: I was very saddened to discover that Pushcart’s location on East Broadway has closed, particularly since it was my “local” when in New York and I had been looking forward to going back. However, when I turned up on my most recent trip, I found it boarded up… Fortunately there are two other Pushtown outlets in the city, although I have not had a chance to visit either of them yet.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The first thing that struck me about Pushcart is the sense of community. It’s a cosy, friendly place and very much part of the neighbourhood, right down its local newsletter, the Pushcart Journal. Talking with the owners confirmed my initial impressions, Pushcart being established in 2011 specifically as a neighbourhood coffee shop. I spoke with Jamie, who along with David, was working behind the bar while I was there.
Jamie explained that the aim was to create a place that was firmly embedded within the community, using local produce wherever possible. The coffee comes from Stumptown Coffee, which roasts just over the water in Brooklyn, while Jamie’s sister bakes all the cookies and cinnamon buns in a kitchen downstairs (complete oversight on my part: I didn’t try one of the delicious-looking cinnamon buns!).
In addition to East Broadway, Pushcart opened a second branch on Second Avenue in October, just two weeks before Hurricane Sandy hit, which, Jamie admitted, was not the best timing in the world. I couldn’t make it over there, but if you’re in the area, do pop in to see how it’s doing. As well as serving behind the counter, David works the pushcart, taking it to various events around New York, serving drip filter and iced coffee. There are, as yet, no plans for a cycle-powered espresso machine!
Pushcart Coffee is a lovely place. A small part of a larger building, Pushcart has retained the original ceiling and cornicing. A wall has been built at the back, separating off a kitchen area, in front of which is the counter with grinder and till either side of the espresso machine. There’s not a lot of space: in all four tables and a little window-bar with three stools. There’s also a table and two chairs outside, along with the eponymous cycle-powered pushcart.
Pushcart has the obligatory flasks of brewed coffee and the usual range espresso-based drinks. At least, I think that’s what’s on offer since it was recently redecorated and the menu, which was written on the wall, was painted over by accident! It also carries a small range of sandwiches, salads and cakes, but the focus is really on the coffee, the best of which comes from the small La Marzocco machine.
The espresso I had was beautifully made and came in a delightful earthenware cup. However, given that it was Stumptown coffee, I found it slightly too fruity for my tastes, although, in its defence, it did wake me up! The house speciality though is cortado, which Jamie claims is rare in New York, so I had to have him make me one. Cortado (for those who don’t know, which included me) is Spanish for “short”, and the coffee of the same name is even flatter than a flat white (ie there’s less milk).
I have to say that it was a real revelation: for me the cortado is the perfect way to use Stumptown coffee. It goes really well with the milk (which is not foamy, but dense and rich), which blends with the fruitiness of the coffee for a really natural sweet taste. If I was a regular at Pushcart (and I would be if I lived in the neighbourhood), the cortado would be my drink of choice.
|221 EAST BROADWAY (AT CLINTON) • NEW YORK • NY 10002 • USA|
|www.pushcartcoffee.com||+1 646 398 7415|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Bar|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Sandwiches, Salad, Cake|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Counter|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Saturday||07:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Sunday||07:00 – 18:00||Mobile||N/A|
|Chain||Local||Visits||9th March 2013|
Liked this? Then check out the rest of New York City’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to New York City.
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