A foaming franchise

A foaming franchise

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

Caffé Bene will be open by mid-July.
Caffé Bene will be open by mid-July.

Misugaru, anyone?

It appears that there is more than kimchee and barbeque to savor from South Korea.

Misugaru is a popular Korean beverage made of a prepackaged powder that contains five different grains, including black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley. The combination is mixed with milk.

And the beverage will be available at Caffé Bene at 9 Edward

Morgan Place, which converges with West 157th Street and Broadway. The new shop will offer Misugaru lattes, smoothies and frappes.

According to company representatives, construction at the 157th Street location is wrapping soon, and the store should be opened by mid-July.

“We’re not about grab and go,” said Caffé Bene’s John Barry.
“We’re not about grab and go,” said Caffé Bene’s John Barry.

Often called the “Starbucks of South Korea,” Caffé Bene offers a variety of options, including specialty coffee drinks such as the cranberry almond frappe and iced white chocolate mocha, Belgian waffles and the ever-popular bubble tea.

Beyond its new uptown location, there are already seven other local Caffé Bene destinations in the metropolitan area, and there are an additional six locations scheduled to open in New York City before the end of July.

Its flagship location opened in Times Square two years ago.

It is all intentional, part of a deliberate plan that Director of Franchise Development John Barry says will make Caffé Bene the “McDonald’s of coffeehouses”.

But he promises that the atmosphere at Caffé Bene will be different from that of other ubiquitous chains, offering a far more laid back atmosphere.

“We’re not about grab and go,” he said.

The ricotta, fig and bacon waffle.
The ricotta, fig and bacon waffle.

In addition to the beverages, there will be the Belgian waffles, quiches, and breads, including brioche and foccacia.

Their baked goods are freshly prepared at Caffé Benes bakery in midtown.

Patrons are encouraged to sit down, enjoy their beverage and meal, and take in the scenery would in if they were at a coffee shop in a European plaza.

“Our theme is, ‘Life is bene [good],’” said Barry,

Despite the proximity of other coffee spots, such as Taszo Espresso Bar and numerous neighborhood bakeries offering signature cafés con leche, and the grumbling of many a local that a franchise would not be welcome, Barry insisted the uptown spot was perfect for Caffé Bene.

Patrons are encouraged to linger.
Patrons are encouraged to linger.

“The fact that there are coffee places means that there’s a need,” he explained. “We believe we can better fulfill the need.”

He explained that the objective is for Caffé Bene to eventually make its way to the rest of the United States.

New York is its first foothold.

“It’s a stepping stone for the rest of the country.”


Caffé Bene

9 Edward M. Morgan Place

New York, NY 10032

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