When in New York . . . Cafe Reggio

My son has recently begun his tenure as a college student at New York University. After living for the last four years in countryside outside of Boerne, Texas (population c. 10,000), Nathan is now in the middle of New York City (population c. 8,000,000). So far, he loves city life.

The first espresso machine in America, featured in Cafe Reggio in New York City

For Nathan, part of the adventure of living in Greenwhich Village is discovering little shops and stores and cafes, especially ones that cater to a college student’s budget. So far, he’s done well.

A couple of weeks ago, I had some business on the East Coast so managed to spend a few hours in New York. Nathan and I had lunch at a classic Greenwhich Village institution: Cafe Reggio. This little coffee establishment was founded in 1927. It boasts having the first Espresso machine in American, a giant chrome and bronze contraption that was made in Italy in 1902. According to a 1935 newspaper article about Cafe Reggio (posted on the store’s website), the store’s found, Dominic Parisi, wouldn’t let anyone else touch the machine, which cost $1,000 in 1927 dollars.

The interior of Cafe Reggio

Even though the original espresso maker is no longer functioning, I nevertheless order a cappuccino with my lunch salad. It was perfect. The salad was decent and unusually reasonable for New York. The interior of Cafe Reggio looks exactly right, with lots of old paintings and memorabilia, in addition to the proudly-displayed espresso machine. The shop has been featured in a number of movies, for good reason.

So, when you’re in New York and you’re looking for something other than Starbucks, don’t miss Cafe Reggio at 119 MacDougal Street in Greenwhich Village, right near Washington Square.

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