It’s actually Abraço, and I think it’s destined to be my favorite neighborhood coffee spot. I wandered in this morning, thinking I was on my way to Dunkin’ Donuts, and instantly my day started looking up. The barista, a cheerful, lanky dude with a mop of gray hair (this must be Jamie), poured me a polished cappuccino. The espresso ($3) tasted a little less mellow than 9th Street Espresso‘s, more slap-you-in-the face, but was very good, and topped with leafy foam art. While I waited, I was swayed into ordering zeppole–two fried-to-order balls of light, doughnut-like ricotta, rolled in sugar ($3). The standing-only space holds two narrow bars just wide enough for coffee cups, so the folks eating in were either chatting or just drinking coffee–no newspapers, laptops, or cell phones. But ambiance aside (Abraço is Portuguese for “hug”), this cafe’s secret weapon is that it has an actual cook, so there’s a whole rotating lunch menu to explore, complete with grilled cheese panini ($6), a deliciously light, eggy frittata ($4), and sweet-and-savory olive cookies ($2).
The only downside is that Abraço is sure to be popular, so I’ll have to get my happy tropicalia coffee fix early to beat the rush.
Abraço Espresso, 86 E. 7th St., at First Ave. 8 am – 8 pm, Sun. 9 am – 8 pm.