Photo on Avenue A from last fall
ICYMI: Several EVG readers passed along this piece from the Times last week titled "It's Not Just You — Blank Street Coffee Is Suddenly Inescapable."
Four outposts (Avenue A, First Avenue, Third Avenue and the Bowery Market) have arrived in the East Village since last fall.
Per the Times:
The rapid expansion has piqued the interest of New Yorkers, who became especially alert to changes in the streetscape during the pandemic. When word got out that Blank Street is not an independent chain like Variety or Bean & Bean, but an enterprise with global ambitions backed by private equity financing, many became curious — and sometimes suspicious.And...
To fuel that growth, Blank Street raised $67 million last year; investors include high-profile venture capital funds like General Catalyst and Tiger Global, the founders of Allbirds and Warby Parker, and the real estate giant Tishman Speyer
With that kind of backing, [co-founders] Mr. [Issam] Freiha and Mr. [Vinay] Menda had anticipated rapid growth. They did not anticipate that by debuting in Williamsburg and advertising their support for local business, they would invite the kind of scrutiny normally reserved for Met Gala outfits and Mets pitchers. Skeptics, who see Blank Street as an avatar of gentrification and automation, and resent the use of Wall Street money to compete with local businesses, have aired their objections on social media.
Back to the Times...
@livlaskowski i physically can’t stop myself from commenting on niche coffee news I’m sorry #blankstreet ♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams
Jalen Williams, a product support engineer, stopped going to Blank Street soon after the very first brick-and-mortar shop opened on Bedford Avenue in his neighborhood. "People realized they were just here to check the Williamsburg box," he said.
As Eater pointed out in its brief — titled "The Oppressive Blah-ness of the Blank Street Coffee Chain" — about the article, Blank Street "has the potential to threaten mom-and-pop coffee shops."
And how does it stack up against other chains? Per the Times, a 16-ounce Blank Street iced latte costs $4.25; at Dunkin’, $3.75; and at Starbucks, $5.50.