Beverage

Coffee chain Blank Street opens 'The Green Room' as innovation cafe

The brand’s newest location in New York City’s Soho neighborhood showcases a rotating menu, beverages in test and an enhanced customer experience.
Green Room
The Green Room embodies sleek design and a zen-like vibe. | All images courtesy of Blank Street.

New York City-based coffee chain Blank Street opened its newest location earlier this month, a concept store developed to showcase advancements in menu, design and service.

Called “The Green Room,” the café is located in the trendy Soho neighborhood of Manhattan and offers a frequently rotating menu of specialty beverages, all-day breakfast, a zen-like vibe and enhanced customization.

doorway

The entrance to the cafe blends in with Soho's design and architectural style. 

The café’s name is a reference to the “green room” in show business where performers or TV guests get ready for their appearances. Blank Street intends this location to be a place where guests get ready for their day. “It will be our space to invest further in innovation across the customer experience,” said Jai Lott, global VP of food and beverage.

To begin, this store introduces new beverages every three to four weeks, instead of seasonally as is customary at most of Blank Street’s 44 U.S. cafés, said KJ Carlstrom, marketing team member for The Green Room. Currently, the three specials include the Mont Blank, the signature cold brew infused with brown sugar and crowned with vanilla sweet crème foam, nutmeg and a spritz of orange essence. The “sweet top” was developed specifically for this location where cold brew is on tap.

There’s also the Chocolate Matcha Cloud, a light chocolate milk with matcha sweet crème and a dusting of milk chocolate, and the Harmless Coconut Matcha, premium coconut water layered with matcha. The Green Room sources small batch syrups for the drinks, curated in partnership with Pink House Alchemy, a company founded by a chef. “The syrups are more viscous than standard ones and the flavor profiles align perfectly with the café’s special beverages,” said Jay Baez, general manager for the store.

espresso

Espresso service comes with a glass of fizzy water on the side and a tasting spoon. | Photo by Pat Cobe

Another exclusive enhancement is the espresso service, said Carlstrom. Brewed espresso is served in a demitasse cup with a side of effervescent water on a stylish tray. Guests can sip the fizzy water to cleanse the palate in between sips.

The food on the all-day breakfast menu includes baked goods sourced from Unregular bakery. “The chocolate croissant is more like a monkey bread that you can pull apart,” said Baez. “And if you warm it in the oven, you get chocolate in every bite.” The breakfast sandwiches, such as the bacon, egg and cheese and veggie, egg and cheese are stacked generously with fresh ingredients, he added. There are also finger sandwiches with fillings including Nutella and banana, smoked salmon and pastrami.

baristas serving

The Green Room baristas receive extensive training to prep the drink specials. 

The prices are the same as other Blank Street locations, said Baez, because the company is very meticulous about managing waste, especially with coffee. “We use automatic machines that precisely calibrate the amount of coffee we need for each drink, so there’s no waste. That allows us to keep prices a bit lower than the competition.”

Barista-style drinks range from $4.50 for cold brew on up to $6.25 for Golden Matcha. The three rotating Green Room specials are $6.50 each.

The baristas here also get advance training compared to the teams at other Blank Street locations. And The Green Room is the only café that boasts a single unit manager. Baez is present to oversee operations every day.

The interior of the cafe is as advertised: a soothing shade of green. Although the espresso machines were clanging in the background, the color scheme and attentive service does induce a feeling of calm. Even when jacked up on caffeine.

To promote The Green Room in its new Soho neighborhood, Blank Street wheeled a coffee cart onto the sidewalk with its own cold brew dispenser. Passersby were treated to samples to celebrate the opening.

This story has been updated to include new information. 

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