when i moved my day job’s office from madison square park to the grungier part of 5th avenue in park slope back in 2004, the only food (or should i say caffeine) highlight for our new spot was café regular. and boy was that a highlight. i still love that location’s fantastic space. tiny, decked out with a tin ceiling, stools and little wooden desks with a “faux” french feel, the south slope café regular was a most welcome place to hang out for hours.
it of course didn’t hurt that the coffee was, and is, excellent at café regular. using la colombe beans, each cup has always been perfect. the beans have no bitterness, and the cappuccinos are rich and frothy.
as has already made all the food blogs, café regular this past summer opened up a second branch in the north part of the slope called café regular du nord. although the space is decked out with a big (and a bit menacing) mardi gras like painting and a gorgeous chandelier, the space is not quite as inviting or as well designed for seating. there is an ongoing balancing act between the people who want to linger with those who want to grab a quick bite. compounding this is the fact that café regular du nord is located in the north slope which has that “park slope” feel that, you know, is the one that everyone likes to make fun of for good reason. so i see more fussiness, more hogging of seats, and just less friendliness among the customers at café regular du nord and as a result the hanging out is not quite as fun.
café regular du nord’s coffee seems to be fairly close to the original (though i felt my double today was too big). on the plus side, in contrast to the original shop, du nord is super super well staffed. this branch not only has a big area for the baristas but i feel like there are always 3 or more on duty so there is never ever much of a wait even when the place feels jammed. not to say that the south slope baristas are not efficient — no one could say that about martin — but it’s more like an assembly line up north.
both café regulars’ carry hard boiled eggs, as well as the same croissants and danishes from marquet patisserie and breads from sullivan street bakery. i keep hoping café regular will take the next step and try some more exciting pastry options but so far no luck.
if i had a choice, i would spend more time at the original café regular. however, since i’ve now moved my office to gowanus, i usually find myself at café regular du nord. i miss the coziness from the south slope shop but i think i’m not doing too badly with its replacement. café regular du nord, 158 berkeley place close to 7th avenue, 718.783.0673; café regular, 318 11th street between 4th and 5th avenues, 718.768.4170, both in brooklyn, new york.