Bring your laptop, invite some friends — and have your pup tag along, too.
Boris & Horton, a dog-friendly café, recently opened in Manhattan’s East Village.
Nearing two months in business, the shop boasts a friendly, interactive ambiance, with dogs and their owners mingling while alternative music fills the air. In one area of the café sits a photo booth, where owners can dress their dogs (and themselves) in silly costumes and have a GIF image (an animated digital image) taken. Another wall is lined with all sorts of dog-themed merchandise, from wearable fashion for pooches and pet parents, to sturdy leashes, greeting cards, coffee mugs, jewelry, pins, hats and totes from vendors like Lucy & Co., Dog + Bone, Love Thy Beast, Found My Animal and Brooklyn Bowtied.
Despite the bustle — and the adorable dogs coming and going — the atmosphere is as calm as a traditional café, as several guests work on their computers, occasionally petting their furry friends during a recent visit.
Coppy Holzman, co-owner of the store, makes an effort to greet every customer, both human and canine.
“That dog bowl is empty. Let me refill it for you,” he says, while promptly getting water for a thirsty pup.
The café is the brainchild of Holzman and his daughter, Logan Mikhaly. The father-daughter duo — who lived in Westport for a number of years, with Mikhaly having attended Staples High School — has been long dedicated to animal welfare. Holzman is the founder and former CEO of Charitybuzz, an online charity auction site that partners with celebrities and brands to raise money for international nonprofits. The animal organizations currently served by Charitybuzz include Wags and Walks Rescue in West Hollywood, California, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats in Los Angeles and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Manhattan. Mikhaly, who lives in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, also worked for Charitybuzz, and earlier managed the operations for Used Dogs, a no-kill dog rescue in New Orleans. She volunteers for Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue in that borough, while her father is the president of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and a member of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Leadership Council.
The café is named after their pets (no surprise there).
Holzman’s dog, Boris, is a Pit Bull-Terrier mix with shaggy hair who was rescued in Puerto Rico. “He’s very enthusiastic. Every day is a party,” Holzman says.
Mikhaly’s dog, Horton, is a Houston-born, 12-pound mystery breed with a charming snaggle tooth. “He comes here a lot and owns the place,” Holzman says.
The café fulfills their vision. The dogs don’t have to wait outside while their parents order, a common hassle faced by dog owners. Second, Holzman and Mikhaly offer vegetarian fare, with some vegan and gluten-free options, and none of their merchandise is made using leather.
“We want to walk the walk if we’re talking the talk, in terms of being animal supportive,” Holzman says. “We’re not using leather. We’re not selling meat.”
To meet the requirements of the New York State Department of Health, and to satisfy guests seeking a quick bite in a place free of barking, the shop is divided into two spaces — the animal-free café area, which includes the ordering counter; and the dog-friendly area, which includes the photo booth, merchandise and even dog beds for sleepy pups.
The café offers light fare, such as specialty toasts and pastries, as well as coffee and craft beer and wine in the evening. I opted for a regular coffee, which is made using the shop’s in-house Boris Blend and avocado toast, smashed avocado seasoned with lemon juice, flaked sea salt, ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, topped with slow-roasted tomatoes and served on gluten-free bread.
Yes, it was even better than it sounds.
On the dog-friendly side sits a delectable selection of gluten-free and grain-free doggy “donuts” and cookies, fresh-baked from the “pawtisserie” at Brooklyn’s maison de pawZ.
In addition to the fare and camaraderie, Boris & Horton features events throughout the month. On the day of WAG’s visit, Holzman is preparing for a visit from a dog acupuncturist. Recently, Holzman says a Girl Scout troop stopped by the shop to discuss pet rescue and adoption and the shop hosted an animal-friendly paint night; wine-and-cheese pairing; a Kombucha night, featuring a jewelry exhibitor; and several adoption evenings.
In the near future, Holzman and Mikhaly are hoping to open a second store as they continue going to the dogs in style.
Boris & Horton is at 195 Ave. A in Manhattan. For more, visit borisandhorton.com.