Now, I’m not a coffee person, but I do appreciate a nice cafe.
I’ve heard so much about 71 Irving because it’s a popular spot amongst my coworkers, and I finally decided to try their lunch there one afternoon. I actually just realized that it’s not really called 71 Irving (that’s just what the sign says out front because it’s the address) and that the official name is Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.
The place was founded in 1996, and three years later they decided to transform a farm in the Hudson Valley into their own roasting facility, which supplies coffee to their four cafes in Grand Central Terminal, the Lower East Side, the Upper West Side, and of course, 71 Irving Place.
This isn’t really the kind of cafe you want to go to if you need a quiet environment to get some serious work done. For one, there’s no wifi. And it can get pretty loud inside too. But, it is a nice cafe to meet people, relax and have a little chat, and get a light lunch or snack.
There are wood floors, white paneled walls, small round tables, and bistro chairs, and overall, it looks and feels very European. It also feels like you’re on the ground floor of someone’s house because of the stairs inside (which you can’t actually go up). There are some treats and baked goods in the counter, but otherwise there’s a menu on the wall. You go up, place your order, pay, and then wait on the other end of the counter for your order. Simple.
The menu has a variety of sandwiches, divided between those served on multi-grain bread and those served panini style on ciabatta. All the sandwiches are lighter fare, but a little on the more expensive side (they’re around $10 each). They also have breakfast items, bagels, croissants, and salads. I went with the grilled chicken pressed sandwich, which had NY cheddar, pesto, and tomatoes, and it was one of the more expensive items on the menu at $10.95.
Maybe I winced a little when I realized I was paying eleven bucks for something I could easily make at home (isn’t that always the test if something is worth it?), but whenever I started eating, all those feelings went away. With something that only had four ingredients, it was fantastic. I guess sometimes less really is more! The bread was wonderfully crunchy and buttered, there were big pieces of seasoned chicken, melted cheddar, fresh tomato, and delicious pesto…overall, it was just one of those perfect sandwiches.
You’ll have to be the judge of the coffee, since I haven’t tried it, but I can tell you that that sandwich did not disappoint. All in all, 71 Irving is a little pricey (though fitting for the neighborhood) but totally charming.
Grilled chicken pressed sandwich
71 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003