This is probably unsurprising since I write for a brunch blog, but I’m a sucker for a beautiful coffee shop. Give me some superfood lattes (bonus points for turmeric), white marble countertops, and some natural lighting, and I’m drawn like a fly to a zapper.
I had seen the bright teal walls, abundance of succulents, and impressive avocado toasts scattered throughout my Instagram feed and made a mental note to check out Citizens of Chelsea in the near future. My friend Jen lives in Chelsea so we decided to meet in her neck of the woods to pacify my intrigue.
As teased by people I follow on social media, Citizens of Chelsea is positively charming. It’s located on an ideal corner spot so all walls are flooded with light. The restaurant is full of communal tables, bar seats, and smaller tables decorated with potted plants and brightly colored coffee cups. I could first tell that this was an Aussie-run spot by the influx of flat whites and avocado toasts coming from the kitchen, but the restaurant also stays true to its roots by proudly displaying Melbourne-themed books in the shelves and only hiring servers with an accent.
It’s a refreshingly new cafe in this part of Ninth Avenue that’s overridden by dry cleaners and chains. A line was forming for tables by the time we wrapped up our meal so word had apparently caught on quickly. Luckily, we snagged a corner seat and dove into the menu.
Coffee first, always. Jen had an iced coffee, which was served with an adorable striped straw in the restaurant’s signature teal accent color. I opted for a flat white, because when in Australia, right? We both appreciated that almond milk was on the menu. The coffee was strong and the barista knew what she was doing with the latte art.
Most of Citizens of Chelsea’s menu features relatively healthy, light bites like a range of “happy bowls” containing chia puddings and musli and toasts galore. The avocado toast is a bestseller so Jen went with this entree, topped with a poached egg.
To her delight, this avocado toast was one for the books. She appreciated the elevated touches like the sprinkle of feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pickled onions, offering the healthy starter a bit more substance. Jen typically is not a fan of beets so she was pleasantly surprised that she enjoyed the beet puree underneath the toast. It added a hint of sweetness, similar to a jam.
Simply because I had never seen this on a menu before, I ordered the beet hummus toast. This fancy toast was served with a dollop of a stunning pink spread, made from beets and chickpeas. The optional poached egg was a solid choice as I found the beet toast was the perfect vessel for sopping up the runny yolk. Similarly to Jen’s feedback, I really enjoyed my choice. This was a unique take on toast and I was left satiated and fueled for the day.
We were in and out of brunch in an hour, and hit the streets for some Sunday errands. Citizens of Chelsea was the perfect spot for a low-key light bite and to catch up over some delicious coffee.
The Bitches say: A. A charming little cafe with quality espresso and tasty toast. Citizens of Chelsea is undeniably Instagrammable, but not overly trendy, and a welcome addition to the west side.
Citizens of Chelsea
401 W 25th St
New York, NY 10001
Citizens of Chelsea serves brunch on Mondays to Fridays at 7 a.m. and on weekends starting at 8 a.m.