Monday, September 5, 2022

Why Blank Street Coffee seems everywhere, and maybe that's not a good thing

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.
@livlaskowski i physically can’t stop myself from commenting on niche coffee news I’m sorry #blankstreet ♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams
Back to the Times... 
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.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw a Tesla model S with Blank Street Coffee painted on its doors and parked in front of the Third Ave location I knew there was big money behind it!

John Riley said...

Why would anyone go to Blank Street or Starbucks near Tompkins when there are 787, C&B, and Ninth Street on all three sides of the park?

Anonymous said...

I make coffee in my kitchen

Anonymous said...

Blank Street vs Starbucks "When Megacorps Rumble!"

Whenever you buy your out of house coffees REMEMBER TO TIP! Solidarity on Labor Day and every day.

Yeah and buy local, though some people like Starbucks weird but whatevah

seedyfilmz said...

Yeah it’s really gross that they are trying to look DYI/independent but aren’t. I stepped into the one on 1st Ave the other day and immediately detected the signs of a corporation chain and crappy coffee. No thanks!

stephen b said...

Anonymous 3:17 PM
Yes and I bet your kitchen coffee is good, as is mine. Only way to fly.

Anonymous said...

I only went their for their free opening coffee, but I've to say the staff is always friendly and upbeat.

Anonymous said...

The name alone is a hint as to how little effort the VC people feel the need to put into this.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have a Nespresso machine. They have lots of different coffees to offer. And we relax at home in the morning and enjoy our coffee while watching the latest news of Donald Trump’s criminal activities. Much better atmosphere than these trendy overpriced joints.

Anonymous said...

"BLANK" enough said!!!!

Carol from East 5th Street said...

I brew my coffee (beans from Porto Rico on St. Marks Place) at home but when I'm in a rush Dunkin' Donuts on First Avenue works for me.

dja said...

My guess is they had this idea to put a seemingly indy-ish cafe on streets all over the city and beyond. To maintain the ruse, they would name the stores individually, e.g. 9th Street Coffee, Reade Street Coffee, etc. and used Blank Street Coffee as a catchall name to simplify things in the early stages of launching the business. Somewhere along the line they decided that was too much of a hassle and just kept the name Blank Street. That or their naming consultant had a crisis of conscience and no one else noticed.

Supagirl said...

They close at 4 o’clock! Personally, I feel the need for a caffeine pick-me-up at roughly 4:30.

Anonymous said...

C&B all the way, yeah Ali!

Anonymous said...

Dunkin is the best all around, especially if you have high expectations.

wordstorn said...

blank street is awful, i tried it once and the americano was watery and bland...

Giovanni said...

McDonalds still offers a pretty good cup of coffee for $1.79, or an large sweet tea for $1, and if you use their app you get a free or discounted apple pie, or a free medium french fries, vs $4 coffee at Starbucks, or $6 at Starbucks Reserve. So for a buck or two you get a drink and something to eat vs. spending $8-$10 almost anywhere else. Best deal in town.

Anonymous said...

Funny how people railing against chains say I prefer Dunkin. 787 has about 20 locations in NYC. Does that make it a chain or local?

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Overprized chain coffee. Rather go thirsty and wait for good home made coffee or just water...

Anonymous said...

McDonald's cup of Joe is actually pretty good! It's $2.06(including tax) for a medium cup. Joe's Coffee not bad!

Anonymous said...

The only place I patronize for outside coffee is Boris & Horton. Coffee AND doggies, what could be better???