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Cappuccino: Introduced to America in Greenwich Village, Still Going Strong

Cappuccinos are made from equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. While this recipe is not debatable, the origin story is. Various Italian, French, Turkish, Viennese/Austro-Hungarians lay claim to all or part of the histories of espresso and/or cappuccino.

Also not debatable is that there are a wide variety of high-quality cappuccino purveyors, both old and new, serving up the delectable drink here in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. So whether it’s National Cappuccino Day on November 8, or any day of the year, indulging in the foamy treat is always easy and enjoyable in our neighborhoods.

Caffe Reggio: A Village Respite Since 1927

Caffe Reggio at 119 MacDougal Street

Located at 119 MacDougal Street since 1927, Caffe Reggio claims to have introduced the cappuccino to America. The dates of when the first espresso machine was invented and commercialized are also disputed, ranging between 1901-1905. Caffe Reggio’s first owner, Domenico Parisi, imported an early “1902 La Pavoni” coal-powered espresso machine that, while no longer currently in use, remains the pride of Caffe Reggio. The South Village was then a predominantly Italian neighborhood and home to many of these Italian cafes. While it became less Italian as the 20th century wore on, members of the Beat Generation such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were regular patrons of Caffe Reggio. Click here to read more about Caffe Reggio and here to read about the Italian Cafes of the South Village.

Porto Rico Importing: Founded in 1907

Porto Rico Importing at 201 Bleecker Street

This 2007 Village Awardee has several locations in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and surrounding areas. They serve fresh coffee, cappuccinos, other espresso-based drinks, and over 100 types of beans. It has been owned and operated by the Longo family for the past three decades. Read and listen to owner Peter Longo’s oral history here.

Ninth Street Espresso

Ninth Street Espresso, image via ninthstreetespresso.com

Founded in 2001 at 700 East 9th Street and Avenue C with a primary focus on manual espresso service, Ninth Street Espresso has now expanded to four locations, including one more in the East Village at 341 East 10th Street, and one each in Queens and Brooklyn. Ninth Street Espresso has attracted a huge fanbase in the community and remains a local favorite.

Click here to read about 700 East 9th Street on our East Village Building Blocks history website. Click here to read about 341 East 10th Street (part of the East 10th Street Historic District).

787 Coffee

787 Coffee at 159 Second Avenue (on 10th Street)

787 Coffee started with one Puerto Rican coffee farm in 2014. It has become popular with three East Village locations, including 101 and 159 2nd Avenue and 131 East 7th Street, two uptown, one in New Jersey, and two in Texas. Hailing from Puerto Rico, where it has five retail locations, according to its website, “787 Coffee is grown, processed & roasted in one location, our coffee farm, in Puerto Rico.” 787 is the island’s area code, and while the business was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, they were able to bounce back due to their great product and customer service.

Click here to read about 156 2nd Ave on our East Village Building Blocks history website. Click here to read about 101 2nd Avenue (part of the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District) and here to read about 131 East 7th Street.

Are you a fan of one of these (or any other) local businesses? Nominate one for a Business of the Month here.

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