Nemaworkshop creates a neighborhood space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with Toby’s Estate coffee shop.
By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen
In our roundup on Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in our July issue, we showcased the newest and greatest in terms of restaurants and hotels. The neighborhood is also having a boom in coffee shops: Toby’s Estate being the newest kid on the block.
The gentrification process hasn’t reached Starbucks-on-every-corner levels yet (even though there is a rumor of a Whole Foods planned), leaving the area ripe for niche coffee brewers—many with a cult following. First there was San Francisco transplant Blue Bottle. And most recently, Australian import Toby’s Estate made its U.S. debut in the burg.
For the design, the brand turned to New York-based nemaworkshop. “The owners wanted to maintain their brand, conveying the process of making their coffee is key, but also make the café more contemporary and reflect the neighborhood,” explains Orit Kaufman, principal of nemaworkshop. “We also wanted to create a space that the neighborhood would feel welcome in, a space where people could enjoy their coffee, meet their friends, and socialize.”
To that end, Kaufman and his team crafted a living room feel in the former meat factory space: a façade of windows lightens the space; a long wood-fronted, marble-topped bar creates a classic coffee bar experience, while tapered walls leading up to it make it feel like a stage; custom designed wood shelves in front of original brick walls showcase Toby’s products and other knickknacks; and large communal tables encourage lingering. “We love Williamsburg because people enjoy good food, wine, coffee, music, and art,” says Adam Boyd, operations director for Toby’s. “People here are willing to try something new, and have been really receptive to our crop-to-cup ethos.”