Can’t get reservations to Ralph Lauren’s hot new Polo Bar yet? Why not console yourself beautifully with a visit to Ralph’s Coffee, his first-ever café on the second floor of his flagship Polo store in midtown Manhattan.
Ralph’s Coffee is the bright, airy yin to the adjacent Polo Bar’s handsome, dusky yang. Floor-to- ceiling windows let you take in the ever-bustling Fifth Avenue, at 55th Street. The green- and-white décor is at once cheery and crisply polished, as are the uniforms – striped shirts and knit ties in the coffee bar’s signature green, khaki pants and butchers’ aprons embroidered with the Ralph’s Coffee logo.
There are tempting sweets, sandwiches and yogurt parfaits. (I lapped up a yogurt parfait made with Greek yogurt, granola and honey.) And, of course, Ralph’s special blends, including Ralph’s Roast, Decaf and Espresso, featuring organically grown beans from Africa and Central and South America, which are roasted and packaged in the United States by La Colombe in Philadelphia. Try a decaf latte.
For Lauren, coffee is a Proustian experience.
“The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me,” Lauren said in a statement, “mostly of time spent with friends and family, the people I love. I wanted to develop these coffee blends in that spirit and create a place where people could come together and take a break from their busy days.”
Indeed, Ralph’s Coffee is such a place. I sat at a corner table in a room that features related books, like Assouline’s “The Allure of Men, with my coffee, yogurt and writing, happy as a clam. For this bibliophile, it was a bit of heaven. But I must add that this is also true of the entire store, thanks in large part to a staff, decked out adorably in RL, that knows how to look you in the eye and greet you with a smile.
A thoroughly classy operation.
Ralph’s Coffee is on the second floor of the Polo store, 711 Fifth Ave. Coffee bar and store hours are the same – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more, click on to http://www.ralphlauren.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=46460316. And for our take on the Polo Bar, look for WAG’s April “Animal Passions” issue, out April 1. – Georgette Gouveia