NYC’s Bluestone Lane serves up premium coffee drinks in a relaxed, authentic cafe environment that reflects its Australian influence. Tucked away in a cozy corner in the West Village sits the Collective Cafe, which serves healthy, locally-sourced breakfast and lunch dishes in a casual yet sophisticated cafe environment. We talked to the team at Bluestone about their food philosophy and about their favorite cafe items.
Tell us about your background. How did you become a part of Bluestone Lane?
My background is working in cafes whilst studying at university. I worked for the Department of Health in Perth, Western Australia in project management specifically around clinical practice improvement and hospital redevelopment. I also opened a mobile espresso machine in Perth, catering large scale events. I am a founder/owner of Bluestone Lane, which largely came about through the identification of lack of high quality espresso based drinks in NYC and long friendship with founder/CEO, Nick Stone.
What atmosphere are you creating Bluestone? What is your service philosophy?
Inclusive, welcoming, engaging atmosphere. My philosophy is about providing a space for customers to enjoy themselves, irrespective if it is for a couple of minutes or an hour.
What is unique about Australian café culture? How does it differ from a typically American café?
Australian cafe culture is about relaxing, socializing and quality products – both food and beverage. American, more so NYC cafes, tend to be more out getting people in and out of the store and that is often with a diminished quality product which requires less skill to produce (specially espresso based drinks).
How does the food menu compliment the coffee offerings?
Fresh, clean and minimalist in terms of portion sizes. Customers should leave feeling content, not overfull.
Which coffee drinks are your favorites? Which café dishes?
Currently my drink of choice is a ‘magic’. It has slightly less milk than a flat white and is a perfect ratio of lightly textured milk with espresso. A quinoa porridge for breakfast and corn fritters with a poached egg for lunch are my favorites.
What’s next for Bluestone? Any plans to open additional Collective Cafes?
6. We have a new store in Bryant Park that opened yesterday (12/17), another near Astor Place mid January 2015 and another planned for March on the Upper East Side, near Central Park. That will take us to 6 stores in less than 2 years. We have a couple more in the pipeline as well!
How does the team at Bluestone work together? Did you know each other before opening the cafes?
The team functions well as each of the owners and managers have a very strong, specific skill set. When those assets come together, we are able to cover all bases and execute great coffee shops and cafes. Nick Stone and I have known each other for over 10 years no, which was critical in starting the business.
What’s special about your local community in the West Village? How have the locals responded to Bluestone?
We get to see a lot of faces each day and get to actually spend time with the locals, talking and getting to know them during the week, as opposed to a passing hello and goodbye which is what we have to do at some of our high-traffic stores. However, on the weekends at West Village, it is a mad house and most locals are smart enough to stay away!
What are some of your favorite places to eat and drink on your days off?
Rosarito’s Fish Shack in Williamsburg for fish tacos and margaritas. Public on Elizabeth Street in NOHO. NYC Street food when I feel lazy!