New Kid on the Block: Fika

fika bar2fika larsFika is pronounced fee-kuh, and it means “coffee break” in Swedish. “You wanna Fika with me?” said co-owner Lars Åkerlund, demonstrating how the word is used. I couldn’t tell if it was a noun or a verb: Was he asking whether I wanted to fika or a fika? “Both!” he said. “In Sweden every company has a fika at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. No exceptions. If they didn’t, there would be a revolution.”

This is the fifth Fika (counting the FiDi one, on Pearl, damaged by Sandy; it’ll reopen in around three weeks). It’s 3,000 square feet: one-third café, one-third production kitchen (including chocolate factory, visible from the street and through an interior plate-glass window), and one-third storage. The  location was especially appealing because of its proximity to the highway: Fika products have to get to Whole Foods and Dean & DeLuca somehow. Åkerlund and his team built the facility themselves: “That’s my passion: design and carpentry,” he said. (He broke several bones in his hand in a power-drill accident that I didn’t quite understand the details of, possibly because I didn’t want to.) He even took the photo of Stockholm that’s used as wallpaper on his most recent visit home; there’s another photo mural, of the city’s old town, Gamla Stan, in the restroom. He didn’t build the seating, though: It’s from a Swedish company called Blå Station.

fika coffeeThe Tribeca Fika will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. once the beer/wine license comes through, hopefully in a couple of weeks; in the meantime, it’s closing around 7 p.m. It’ll serve coffee and breakfast foods in the morning and lunch in mid-day (the menus are below—I believe these are preliminary and will grow), and it’ll shift to more of a wine bar in the evenings. “We have room to play with Swedish cuisine here,” said Åkerlund. “We’ll serve Swedish tapas—small bites with Swedish flavors.” And this will be the first Fika to serve a smörgåsbord brunch on Sundays. Look for it to start after the wine/beer license arrives.

The ethos is source locally whenever possible. “We buy 300,000 chocolate boxes,” said Åkerlund. “It’s insane not to buy them from China, but we don’t. Each one is made on Long Island. Our milk is from a dairy upstate—we almost know the names of the cows. Our coffee is roasted in Brooklyn (from a Swedish recipe). And everything is handmade! We do cinnamon buns every morning; we start baking at midnight.”

Still to come: wi-fi (in around a week)—in the meantime there are magazines and board games in the nook by the restroom—and a retail component that will be larger than at the other stores, offering all of the line’s jams, peanut butters, and, of course, chocolates.

Fika is at 450 Washington (between Watts and Desbrosses), 212-706-0565; fikanyc.com.

fika facade

fika cinnamon rollfika roomfika baristaFika counter windowsfika mirrorfika tip jarfika gamesFika pastriesfika factory windowfika menu1Fika menu 2Update 2/5: I went by today and there were chocolates….

fika chocolatesRecent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
The Lounge at Atera
American Flatbread Tribeca Hearth
Shigure
Drybar
Rosie Pope
Bikini Bar
Benares
The Cricketers Arms
Tribeca Canvas
Nish Nush

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4 Comments

  1. went there yesterday. This place is a great addition to the neighborhood!!

  2. Thank god! After we lost Peace and Love I’ve been wondering if Tribeca was just a wifi wasteland. No where to go with our laptops for a warm beverage and a treat! Welcome Fika!

  3. Yayayayayayay! And it is right by my office! Super happy about this opening. And thanks for these great pics, TC!

  4. Yay for fika!!!!