Today, a new coffee bar opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It’s in the garden level of Marcel Breuer’s brutalist masterpiece, a walnut-paneled coffee cart that’s acting a place-holder until a new museum cafe will be opened by Union Square Hospitality GroupStrada, the next-generation pressure profiling espresso machine from La Marzocco. in the spring. In the meantime, you can visit the coffee bar (without paying admission) and get a cappuccino made on a
The coffee bar is a collaboration between the Union Square group and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The Strada belongs to Stumptown (fetishists take note: it has serial number 0001, the first production model to come off the line), as does the coffee cart, which is from Portland, Ore. The beans are Hair Bender Espresso. The baristas are from Union Square and the decision to work with Stumptown was made by Kevin Richer, who is currently the general manager of the soon to depart Tabla and will be the general manager of the Whitney cafe.
“I fell in love with Stumptown two years ago,” said Mr. Richer. “The espresso has a flavor that’s almost like a fermented, dry reisling. It gives the impression of being sweet but it’s not.”
An obsession with small-batch coffee has become one of the characteristics of the restaurants in the Union Square fleet. In September, Eleven Madison Park introduced tableside coffee service using single-origin beans from Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. Now Gramercy Tavern uses Blue Bottle Coffee, Mailiano uses Four Barrel Coffee, the Modern has a special blend from la Colombe Torrefaction and Union Square Cafe uses Dallis Bros. Coffee.
Until the cafe at the Whitney opens, all coffee will be served in paper cups – right now, there’s no place to wash dirty dishes. It’s a shame to drink such carefully crafted coffee out of paper, although you can’t knock the experience of throwing back a shot of bright, lush espresso before heading to the art upstairs.
Coffee bar at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue (East 75th Street), no telephone. Open Wednesday and Thursday 11am to 3pm, Friday 1pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 3pm.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.