Artshack Cafe, a non-profit organization whose very essence aims at making the neighborhood—and the world as a whole—a better place, takes eco-friendliness very seriously, offering everything on the menu on ceramic pieces made in-house. What’s more, according to an official statement by the cafe, patrons are asked to “help reduce waste by bringing their own cups.” Looking for a coffee to-go? Expect it served in a ceramic to-go cup.
The cafe is part of Artshack Brooklyn, a community-based ceramics studio that offers both free and subsidized programming for adults and children alike.
In addition to not using single-use products, standout features of the Bed-Stuy cafe at 1129 Bedford Avenue by Monroe Street include an anti-racism library and a number of chairs shaped like bunnies that will make anyone’s selected orders from chef Silvia Barban’s menu taste that much better.
Speaking of the menu: among plenty of coffee shop staples like croissants and brownie bars is a top-notch house-made olive oil cake that, according to Brooklyn Magazine, chef Silvia Barban’s mother used to prepare often. There are also lunch go-to’s like sandwiches, salads and egg dishes, plus a remarkable house-made soft serve option.
We'd be remiss not to also mention the trays of onigiri that make their way into the shop each morning. Brooklyn Magazine reports that Barban and McKendree Key, the native New Yorker who founded the ceramics studio in 2008 and the cafe a few weeks ago, "have some good friends in the neighborhood who love making Japanese food" and deliver some daily. The Japanese rice balls are served after 9am alongside a tuna salad, eggs and edamame or umeboshi, a salted Japanese plum.
Clearly, at Artshack Cafe, the essence of the offerings are just as important as the space's overall message—a refreshing outlook when measured against the crowded local gastronomy scene that often opts for financial success over moral integrity and fair business practices.