Now serving wine and beer until 9 pm
By Hannah Reimann
There’s a growing local clientele at El Condor at 95 Greenwich Street near Bank Street. Weekends are packed. If you haven’t been to this new jewel in the West Village, plan a visit soon. Owners Nicolas Simon and Mucjon Demiraj (with architect/interior design firm Re-ad) have created a sublime, intentionally decorated all-day spot for excellent coffee, healthy, light meals and a new wine and beer menu.All alcoholic beverages are local to New York City and State, with a few wine selections from South America as a nod to the concept’s name. The Mid-Century Modern design is comfortable and chic, a good place to write a restaurant review with a perfect cortado and hearty breakfast sandwich.
All the food here is balanced, lightly albeit precisely spiced or garnished with fresh ingredients, many from the Hudson Valley, Union Square Market or local farmer collectives and purveyors. There is a noticeable positive vibration from the staff and customers every time I walk into El Condor. The service is impeccable.
The Breakfast Sandwich is truly decadent and filling, but not in a fattening or buttery way. Feta cheese is cleverly melted between thin layers of egg with a border of mustard seeds and sautéed spinach, encased in a homemade English muffin. A side of spinach with fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing accompanies it in a beautiful, blue matching ceramic bowl. This is typical of the seasonal choices and meticulous care to detail of both food and presentation at El Condor. People come here for the aesthetic quality as much as to satisfy their hunger.
On the sweet side, there are also “Chamonix” Orange biscuits, a childhood memory of Nicolas, and Pistachio Raspberry Cake, great with El Condor’s cappuccino with their homemade almond milk.
Last night Caroline and I sampled the tasty Bruschetta with roasted beets, a tzaziki-like spread on the fresh rye bread from Partybus with a fun addition of beet chips, Fava Bean Toast on a hearty, crunchy miche with asparagus tips, watermelon radish and hard-boiled egg, The Salad, fresh and delightful with red quinoa, arugula, watercress, fresh basil, peas, fava beans, grapefruit, feta and hazelnuts. We had the AB&J Club for dessert, an acronym for Almond Butter & Jam, the latter being strawberry-rhubarb, matching the season, refreshingly tart-sweet. Lemon zest sprinkled on the sandwich and the multi-grain bread rounded this out to be an unusual treat which is not overly sweet or heavy, full of different textures and flavors.
In March, El Condor began to serve wine and beer. I am a stout lover and to whet my palate before the meal, I shared a Gun Hill Brewery Foreign Style Stout with Nicolas. Caroline enjoyed the Macari Collina Merlot and I had a glass of Hosmer Cabernet Franc which was unusually light for this grape, uplifting and dry.
We finished our meal with a memorable Riesling ice wine from Boundary Breaks in the Finger Lakes. It reminded me of German Christmas dinners with my dad and I’ll make a note of it for future meals. I can see his smile and hear him say, “Nektar und Ambrosia!” Sipping, then explaining the process of processing the half-frozen grapes and their increased sugar content from being harvested much later than other white grapes.
I am half-Korean and was delighted to see Morning Congee is on the menu – the first dish I had at El Condor on a cold February morning. It can also be eaten for lunch or weekend dinner paired with Makgeolli (Korean Rice Beer).
More about the business model
El Condor’s concept revolved around the coffee beans first, which they roast on the premises. They serve and sell two initial blends, a smooth and slightly sweet Brazilian and Guatemalan mix for the drip coffee, plus a sweeter, low-acid espresso blend (Brazil and Sumatra).
“A silver lining from the pandemic” as quoted from the El Condor wefunder.com/elcondor/ page, the floors, countertops and restroom are spotless and clean. Hand sanitizer can be found on most tables. El Condor intends “to expand the brand beyond its core business: fashion collaborations, music production, furniture design, coffee equipment design, the opportunities are pretty much endless as long as they remain qualitatively relevant.” Their employees are not tipped, but paid fair salaries with benefits and earn a percentage of sales revenue, a model that entrepreneurs like Danny Meyer implemented. This keeps the staff happy to come to work and excited about the food and drink. The mood spreads to customers like me who look forward to seasonal changes and new products.
Manager Tyler Dorso and the owners talked about collaborating for several months. Dorso has been roasting coffee for 4 years and has fulfilled all levels of coffee preparation, serving and business planning, from being a barista to doing quality control of El Condor’s coffee products and staff. Like Simon and Demiraj, his passion for this business is based on their love of the quality of what they have to offer and the community they create.
Please stop in to witness the development of El Condor and its inspired actions to bring another level of food, drink and business to the West Village.
There is now an extensive list of beverages at El Condor including zero-proof cocktails like Ghia, natural sodas, kombucha, sake and much more.
Here’s a list of some of the beer and wine you can now find there:
Finback Rolling In Clouds
Five Boroughs Brewing Company Gridlock Hazy
Other Half Digital Beams
Grimm Hi Vis Dry-Hopped Sour Ale
Industrial Arts Spring Landscape Lager
Clos des Fous Cinsault Blend
Heart & Hands Pinot Noir
La Posta Paulucci Malbec
Cara Sur Moscatel
Via Revolucionaria Torrontes