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Business of the Month: Newsbar Cafe, 107 University Place

Your input is needed! Today we feature our latest Business of the Month — help us to select the next. Tell us which independent store you love in Greenwich Village, the East Village, or NoHo: click here to nominate your favorite. Want to help support small businesses? Share this post with friends.

More than ever, the comfort and convenience of a local cafe, where you can get a newspaper, coffee and a quick snack or full meal, is of immense value, and something we’ve all been missing a bit.  Even if right now we can’t linger at a table or on a stool or strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to us, some of our dear familiar places are open for pickup or delivery service. Newsbar Cafe, located at 107 University Place between 12th and 13th Streets since 1994, is one such place, open for business and providing a much-needed service and a little bit of community at this time.

Newsbar on University Place is a local coffee shop and cafe that proudly caters to the residents of New York. From choosing a house-baked blueberry muffin, to their popular egg-wraps, meals are always delicious. See some of their goodies can be found on their Instagram page here.

Delicious sandwiches wrapped up for takeaway service.

They feature farm-to-table Devoción Coffee. Devoción is among the finest and freshest coffee, pure and simple. Their coffee beans are sourced from farms they hand-select from within the vast regions of Colombia.

Before the pandemic you could take a read through their extensive magazine selection. I remember stopping by over the years to peruse The Nation or the New York Review of Books with coffee and a sandwich. At Newsbar, thanks to proprietor Jan Balasack, they make you feel at home in an interactive and friendly environment.  And when we are able to gather again, remember to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the streets and relax with Newsbar — because everyone needs a place outside of home and work they can call their own.

One Yelp reviewer, Christopher F., recently wrote:

I think News Bar is just terrific.  They have been there for 20+ years and have evolved with the neighborhood.  I remember getting coffee there after 9/11.  They are open during Covid, for takeout and delivery.  This is a good choice for an easy lunch.  I am a coffee addict and I think they make the best capuccino in town.  They are also on a quiet block so I find it a very relaxing spot to visit — benches outside make for great people watching.

There is something for everyone at News Bar — vegan, gluten free, etc.  My favorite is the egg wrap which is always delicious.  I took my kids there for lunch, they are very picky, and they loved it too.

Support family restaurants always, but especially during this difficult time!

Muffins. And hand sanitizer by the door.

Local resident Jeanne Krier wrote in her nomination form:

On its Twitter, Newsbar Café defines itself as “your oasis in the middle of NYC.”  I say it is a Village casual kitchen-slash-office-slash-livingroom-slash-study-slash-restaurant.  It is a place to get great coffee (brewed from “locally roasted” beans), breakfast (egg sandwiches, wraps, oatmeal, bagel sandwiches), lunch (salads, healthy bowls, homemade soups, sandwiches) – to sit right down at one of its wooden communal tables and enjoy there over whatever you peruse to read — or not read and just be. Or order takeout. Or call for delivery.  They’re good with all of the above.  Basically, they’re Good. 

While there recently for a spatially distancing visit, Jeanne was struck by how warmly every member of the staff and the owner, Jan Balascak, treated each customer (and customers there were: there was a line of about 15 people, at 9:30 am on a Wednesday).

Like the sitcom bar, Cheers, this is a place where people know people’s names, and customers are received by the staff more like friends than customers. This communal spirit clearly comes from the top, from the gentle personality and dedication of the owner, Jan.

Photo from SUMMER 2019. Like a real local place, the benches (by Doxa Woodworks) outside are an extension of the cafe and part of the neighborhood. Looking forward to the days we can sit outside and eat like this again!

Like many businesses, the folks at Newsbar Cafe are doing their best to manage during these COVID-19 times.  Owner Jan likened it in some way to how tough it was to keep going during the construction for the 21 East 12th Street megabuilding directly across the street on University Place when the full block was closed for periods of time.  What got them through then? Jan said “It was the loyalty of our customers that kept us going, and that’s what’s keeping us going now. I can’t say enough about them. Their loyalty has been phenomenal.”

2019 Holiday wishes from the Newsbar Cafe family.

And in the spirit of togetherness, even before the current situation, Newsbar would often post on social media encouraging people to get a book at a local shop and stay a spell.

Mural depicting locals by @angfzir in 2019

One nomination from Chealsea Hartney before the current situation touted the independent nature of the cafe:

Newsbar is an amazing local gem of a cafe. It’s always bustling and provides a great spot for village locals to grab a cup of coffee, sit and catch up with friends or the lovely owners, or have an easy and comforting bite. The staff is incredibly friendly and it feels like a true neighborhood staple. As Newsbar continues to be surrounded by cookie cutter chains … and the rest of Union Square, we’re fortunate to have such a nice local spot on University Place. It’s wonderful to walk in and be greeted by your first name, and to see other Greenwich Villagers who frequent the spot and have gone from strangers to friends!

..fresh Mozzarella , tomato and pesto on French baguette – sooo good🥪🥪

Village Preservation honors, promotes, and advocates for small businesses as part of our mission. The current circumstances show how important these neighborhood anchors are now more than ever. Newsbar Cafe, now open to locals and visitors and practicing spatial distancing and social bridging, is taking orders online or by phone at (212) 353-1246.  And they are our May 2020 Business of the Month.

What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc

And here is a handy map of all of our Businesses of the Month:

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