If you’ve ever walked down West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, you’ve probably passed the impressive facade of the Walker Hotel, a boutique hotel attracting curious passersby with its throwback '30s look and a warm glow coming from within. The ground floor of the hotel is home to an outstanding new player in the neighborhood’s dining scene: Society Cafe.
Under Executive Chef Christopher Zabita, who trained at New York institutions Bar Boulud and Marc Forgione, the excellent menu draws inspiration from local farms. Chef Zabita himself visits the Union Square Farmers Market just blocks away to gather ingredients local to the tristate area. The dishes always lead with seasonal and fresh flavors, from the juices at brunch and breakfast to the herbs garnishing the Long Island duck at dinner.
In a warm, spacious dining room inspired by jazz cafes of a bygone era, locals and tourists alike can enjoy one of Society Cafe’s impeccable offerings at any time of day. Come often for the rotating menu of seasonal dishes. A sensational deal for breakfast, the prix fixe menu gives you a choice of fresh-pressed juice made with local produce, entrees like avocado toast or eggs, and coffee or tea, all for $25. Other standouts include pastries from local favorite bakery Balthazar, olive oil pancakes, and a Murray’s bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. These dishes, in addition to eggs and cocktails, are offered during weekend brunch. Breakfast is served 6:30 to 11am on weekdays, while brunch is Saturday and Sunday, 11am-3pm.
Feast on a delectable brunch made from fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Instagram
Lunches at Society Cafe make great use of the natural light coming through the skylights overhead in the dining room. Enjoy their curated menu of starters, salads, whole-wheat pizzas, and sandwiches from 11am to 4pm Monday through Friday. Go straight for the chickpea fries with celery tzatziki dipping sauce, wild mushroom pizza with gruyere cheese and black truffle, and the brisket burger with applewood bacon, tomato, raclette cheese, and special “Society sauce.”
Chef Zabita’s dinner will offer the most options for you and your dining companions without overwhelming you with too many selections. From the snacks menu, take a look at the lobster tater tots with ginger ketchup, which captures the inventive, fresh spin on comfort food that this menu does so well. You’ll find the same delicious whole wheat pizzas carried over from the lunch menu at dinner, which are great for sharing—perhaps in addition to a pasta like the rigatoni with buttermilk ricotta cheese. The perfectly portioned entrees feature the aforementioned Long Island duck and sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna, but the star of the show is Colorado lamb loin with spiced cauliflower, garlic-braised greens, and pickled apple. We also recommend the spiced baby carrots with fresh ricotta cheese and toasted cashew for the table! And if it’s in season, order the apple strudel with salted caramel ice cream for dessert.
Try the new Boogie Woogie cocktail, made with Four Roses Bourbon, Aperol, Grapefruit Juice, Honey. Instagram
Society Cafe’s happy hour is 5-7pm, Monday through Friday. Cocktails are made with local produce to maximize flavor, like the bright Boogie Woogie with bourbon, rosemary-infused aperol, grapefruit, and honey. Their brunch cocktail game is on-point too, with four varieties of Bloody Mary and the Laura Palmer (a spiked Arnold Palmer and a nod to Twin Peaks fans). Beer, cider, and wine are available from the bar as well.
Friday and Saturday nights, you’ll even get to hear live jazz in tribute to the original Society Cafe, a Village jazz club that was once a staple of the neighborhood’s music scene. So book a table, grab a sidecar, and settle into the teal banquette as you enjoy society living—and eating—at Society Cafe.
Society Cafe is located at 52 W 13th St. Call 212-300-4525 for reservations, or visit societycafenyc.com.