Perk Kafe

When I moved from the UES to Murray Hill, my food options expanded.  I felt bad complaining since I had so many more cuisines at my fingertips, but there was one thing noticeably missing: the coffee shop.  Thanks to the TV show Friends, many kiddies of my generation assume groups of New York pals convene on comfy couches in coffee houses to gossip and sip coffee every weekend.  They also imagine artsy types do their writing hunched over laptops in one of those quaint coffee spots where the baristas know your name and never rush you out.  In reality, New York is filled with just as many Starcucks as any suburb.  If you want a cute coffee house, you usually have to go downtown and even then many don’t have seating.  If you’re reading this in a small Midwestern town and I just shattered the illusion, I apologize; but now you understand how upset I was when I realized Central Perk was not as realistic as I thought (nor are the apartments on that show, but whatevs).

It may have be harder to find good coffee houses than I imagined, but I was determined to not become a Starbucks statistic.  Thankfully, I found a coffee oasis by my old apartment and spent almost every Sunday there doing exactly what I had always pictured New Yorkers doing: sipping coffee while reading The Times or typing away on my laptop.  Sure, when I moved I could replace it with home-brewed coffee on my rooftop, but that’s just not the same and doesn’t help me during the cold months.  I begged the coffee gods for some help and my prayers have been answered because a new coffee house recently opened directly across the street from my apartment.

Not only does Perk Kafe have seating, they serve Stumptown, my favorite roast.  And when they hand you that delicious Stumptown coffee, they’ll have taken the time to make a design in the foam, a touch that does not go unnoticed.  Coffee and seating are the most important things because, let’s face it, if the brew is bad or I have nowhere to sit and enjoy it, there’s no point.  But beyond those non-negotiables, Perk Kafe has established themselves as my official coffee spot with their free wifi and great decor.  It’s good to have a place to sit, even better when that place is filled with distressed wood, mosaic floors, subway tile, and a neon sign behind the counter for splash effect.  The all glass facade lets the light stream in and bounce off the mostly white decor for a feeling that is simply “weekend.”  And based on an interaction I witnessed last time I was in there, I could tell they recognize regulars and remember their orders.  I may have found my Gunther!