The latest coffee chain to come for NYC.


Blank Street Coffee first rolled into NYC in August of 2020: A mint green caffeine machine with beans on wheels and people to see by way of Williamsburg. In those late early days of the pandemic, when burgeoning hospitality ventures were more celebrated than they were scrutinized, the uh-oh alarms that previously sounded when suspected disruptors came to town were somewhat dampened. Instead, party lines about the company’s commitment to sustainability, local sourcing and that occasionally eco-friendly five-letter word for cash colorfully covering its very first vessel were the conversation’s loudest.  

A little more than two years later, Blank Street has more than 40 footprints, including that original little cart, another mobile purveyor and enough brick-and-mortar shops to evoke chatter in the town square cloud of social media and headlines like “It’s Not Just You — Blank Street Coffee is Suddenly Inescapable” in The New York Times. Blank Street, founded by friends Issam Freiha and Vinay Menda when they “realized they couldn’t afford the best coffee everyday, and the cheaper options weren’t nearly as good (a tough pill to swallow),” now operates more spots than “any locally owned competitor,” according to the paper.

They are, as intended, fairly uniform; aggressively nondescript BLANK STREET font stamped on glass doors, walls, cups and at least one attempted meme. The affected anonymity is so successful that, on one recent midtown visit, I would have walked by had it not caught my friend’s keener eye. A large orange and white steam-pipe outside added to its ACME aesthetic, like the whole facade was hastily erected by Wile E. Coyote in another hungry effort to capture the Road Runner.