Martha Stewart may have started in the foodservice world with a catering company she launched in 1976 and ran out of the basement in her home, but it’s taken her until now to make the jump to restaurants. And again, she’s starting close to home. Stewart is testing the waters of the restaurant business with an eponymous tiny cafe that opened on March 12 in the lobby of the Starrett-Lehigh building, home to her corporate headquarters in the emerging West Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.
Martha Stewart Café services mainly building tenants, who line up Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s neither a place to sit, nor a table to rest beverages. It’s just the friendly staff serving handcrafted brews made from her own blends of tea and coffee. Beverages are priced at $1.50 to $4 a cup. In addition, almost everything from the aprons to the paper cups is Martha-branded. And the Martha brand can be taken home as well. Both brews also are for sale, including a special Martha Blend: coffee at $13.50, espresso beans at $15 per 10-ounce bag and canisters of loose-leaf tea for $20.
While Stewart has produced branded food items in the past, they aren’t available in the cafe just yet. In the meantime, wanting to support small businesses, Stewart’s cafe sources pastries from local bakers, selling them for $2 to $5 each. Her own creations should be on the menu by year’s end.