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Inside Everyman Espresso’s New Cafe In Park ...

Inside Everyman Espresso’s New Cafe In Park Slope, Brooklyn

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Owner and CEO Sam Penix with CFO and co-owner Sam Lewontin.

Back in 2011 I called Everyman Espresso’s landmark East 13th Street cafe in Manhattan “my favorite cafe in New York“, and six years on, not much has changed six. Or at least not for me; I’ve gone as far as to book lodging in New York based solely on proximity to the East Village, so that I may pretend, however briefly, to be one of this cafe’s grand and exotic flock of regulars. But plenty’s changed for Everyman, as the Manhattan-based brand grew to include a SoHo location in 2012, and now in 2017 has introduced a new member to the family: Everyman Espresso Park Slope, the brand’s first foray into Brooklyn.

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The new Everyman occupies 400 square feet at 5th Avenue and Degraw, in the heart of Park Slope. Everyman CEO Sam Penix, who searched for the new location across four of the five boroughs—”I missed Staten Island this time”—has taken over the space formerly occupied by Venticinque, a neighborhood coffee bar with a small footprint. “It was this cluttered, kind of dirty coffee shop that wasn’t doing well,” Penix says, but that clutter has been transformed into a bright, airy space, designed in collaboration Everyman CFO and co-owner Sam Lewontin and longtime Everyman architect Jane Kim. Penix describes Kim as “great at interpreting my aesthetic, and Sam Lewontin’s vision for bar flow and efficiency,” describing their ongoing collaboration with Kim and contractor Sen Wang (of Senrong Development Consulting) as a “dream team.”

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The space is stocked with gear by Nuova Simonelli (Climapro grinders), La Marzocco (a Strada EE 2 group espresso machine), Mahlkonig (an MK-710 grinder) and a Curtis Gold Cup brewer. Everyman is a longtime exclusive partner of Counter Culture Coffee, and that won’t change in Brooklyn, but there’s some shakeup happening behind the scenes. Penix and Lewontin are switching all three of their locations away from Counter Culture’s seasonal blends, and towards a program focused on the Durham, NC based roaster’s expansive list of single origin offerings, with menus chosen “at the discretion of each store manager,” according to Penix.

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The focus at Everyman Park Slope is on “efficiency and quality”, as per Penix, who expands: “Quality doesn’t come from theatrics. Quality is about brewing a well-extracted cup of coffee that is super delicious; it’s about finding a way to meet people’s needs with quickness, while also being able to provide experiences and coffees that are impeccably brewed. I feel like we’ve matured and come into our own and we aren’t afraid of the tools we use to bring us to that goal of quality.”

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Perhaps the most striking design element in the store is its tile backsplash, a branding hook that is in place at all three Everyman locations. “It’s a way we brand our spaces without being overtly commercial,” says Penix, who describes this new shop’s tile color palette—pink, black, and brassy yellow—as being inspired by “working girls from the 1970s—they’re always on my mind.” Think Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin.

Other notable details include the use of Corian—a compacted stone dust—throughout the coffee bar, from the baseboard of the coffee bar to the back bar work counters, as well as slip-resistant floor tiles with a wood grain pattern.

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The new shop is a close to Lewontin’s home in Brooklyn, and for Penix provides a much different customer environment than he’s encountered back on Manhattan. “This has been a huge departure from opening in Soho,” he tells Sprudge, “which was great, but it was a hard neighborhood to crack. The attitude there was more like “Who the -f- do you think you are?” Here in Park Slope the vibe is different, or at least for the most part—there’s always going to be Yelp hot takes. “My favorite thing about the new shop is really the people who are coming in,” Penix says, “because they’re coming in as groups and families, with happy faces, and saying things like ‘Thank you for being here.’ It really is changing my life and restoring my soul.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Photos for Sprudge by Lanny Huang.


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