I have been waiting to review this place since I began the coffee crawl back in December. As I worked through earning my MBA from Fordham Business School, Paradise Cafe was my second home. I would wake up, throw on some study/homework clothes (sweats and a t-shirt), pack up my backpack and head out to the cafe. Being one of the only non-Starbucks coffee shops in Chelsea and located on 8th Avenue between 16th and 17th Street, Paradise Cafe has quickly become a neighborhood favorite and hotspot among the Chelsea coffee lovers.
As you already have guessed, Paradise Cafe is an excellent option for those looking to study, get work done, and even catch up with friends. They have 11 tables each with 2 chairs, in addition to 3 bar tables with 2 bar stools each. In other words, ample seating! Depending on the baristas working that day, the music ranges from the radio (Z100 or KTU) to indie rock. No matter what music is playing, the volume is always just perfect for studying. The walls are painted a relaxing yellow color and are decorated with local artist work that are for sell. I just love how Paradise supports local artists. Also, while I was there the owner was working. He is a very nice man and took the time to walk me through all of the breakfast options available that day, in addition to the different flavors of iced coffee. Very nice and helpful!
One thing that jumped out at me and caught my eye was that they support local, organic and fair trade coffees and foods. One such display on their counter tells the story of Equal Exchange coffee (which they brew) as well as the organic chocolates that they sell. In today’s coffee market, having fair trade and organic beans are definite winners to any sales strategy. While I didn’t enjoy the chocolate bar on this trip, I sure will be coming back for more next time!
What I did enjoy on this coffee crawl was their delicious yogurt parfait and a cup of vanilla hazelnut coffee. The yogurt parfait (which I have eaten many times over the years) has never let me down. With layers of Stonyfield Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt, low-fat granola, fresh strawberries and bananas, I was a happy camper. To top it all off, honey was drizzled on top and seeped into each layer for that extra little “oomph.” Now, what I truly love about Paradise Cafe is their iced coffee. The vanilla hazelnut flavor is to die for. They always brew the Equal Exchange beans and every time it comes out delicious. You definitely should check out Paradise Cafe on your next visit to Chelsea when you want a great Starbucks alternative!