Though New York Fashion Week has made a decisive move to the west side of Manhattan, you can bet to find in-the-know editors and models sipping coffee at André Saraiva‘s new haunt on the Lower East Side. Café Henrie, opening today, is a seven-to-seven spot that aims to be a place of casual congregation and chatter for residents of Forsyth Street and beyond.
“I bought an apartment on Forsyth, and I didn’t have any place to go in the morning to have my coffee and sit down and read my paper, so I said I should find a little place and bring a bit of my habits I have normally in Paris to New York,” mused Saraiva. Those habits are the ones of the ideal Parisian café: sitting for hours, reading the paper, running into friends, losing track of time, all over coffee and light bites.
To achieve the mood, Saraiva created an “administrative” feeling space with peg-board walls and pops of cerulean and pink that’s as meticulously curated as one of his gallery shows or nightclubs. Food comes with Swedish, Parisian, and Portuguese twists from young chef Marquis Hayes, which patrons can enjoy while sitting on Jean Prouvé benches (and a remake of the style by Tom Sachs). For now, the waitstaff wears coordinating aprons, but streamlined uniforms, potentially by Saraiva’s friend Olympia Le-Tan, could be in store for the future. The point being that this little spot on Forsyth feels blissfully out of this world, more art space than your typical downtown coffee place.
That might be exactly the point. Saraiva, who prefers the moniker artist over club owner, drew references to past art projects of his own and of others (like Gordon Matta-Clark’s ’70s art restaurant, Food) when describing his intentions for his new venture. “I think time will tell what is art or not art, but I see how I create all this as part of the same project. It’s as creative to me as when I’m painting a wall or putting together a movie or doing some photography.” But with the added bonus for patrons that it comes with a cup of coffee.
Café Henrie opens at 110 Forsyth Street today.
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