California Fave Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Opening Attracts 'Spider-Man'
MIDTOWN — Not even superheroes can resist the draw of California's beloved The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which opened its first location in Manhattan Monday after a brief delay caused by Hurricane Irene.
Reeve Carney, who plays Spider-Man alter-ego Peter Parker in Broadway’s "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," was among the devotees who packed the coffee shop at its opening on Broadway at 39th Street for a caffeine fix.
“I love Coffee Bean,” said Carney, dressed in black suspenders and a white button-down shirt, as he posed with fans after ordering a “pure chocolate” frozen drink on his day off.
Carney, who went to high school in Los Angeles, said he’s thrilled to see “The Bean” arrive in New York.
“I think I know the menu better than the people who work here,” he joked.
Despite the new shop’s proximity to a host of coffee shops, including Oren’s Daily Roast and numerous Starbucks outlets, fans had no doubt The Bean would keep buzzing.
“It’s amazing,” said Upper West Sider Alison H., 29, who is originally from Los Angeles and couldn’t wait to get her hands on a café latté or ice-blended.
“I’m also kind of obsessed with the green tea — the Japanese cherry one," she said.
Blogger Micah Jesse, 25, said he walked all the way from his apartment in the East Village to West 39th Street for a fix.
“There’s nothing like The Bean. They have things on the menu that Starbucks and no other places in the area have,” he said, sipping a vanilla ice-blended with crushed espresso beans through the chain’s signature purple straw.
“It’s definitely going to beat Starbucks’ green,” he proclaimed.
The store had originally been scheduled to soft-open Sunday, but that had to be pushed back a day because of Irene.
“Fortunately we didn’t have any damage or issues,” owner Jeffrey Srulowitz said.
The new store is the first of the chain's roll-out across Manhattan, with the next opening most likely planned for the Upper West Side.
In addition seating and a coffee-centered theme, the new shop includes a “mural wall” that will feature artwork from rotating artists with a connection to the neighborhood. The exhibit kicked off with a series of fashion shots from photographer Patrick McMullan in honor of the Fashion District nearby.
Owners are also considering opening the space to local artists for exhibitions, they said.
But fans said what they're most interested in is the coffee, which they rated as consistently better than other chains.
Actress/producer Deanne Raphael, said she used to stop by The Bean every day during the 10 years she lived in L.A., and is such a fan she even made a short film in honor of the brand.
She said she was taken aback when she discovered the new storefront a week and a half ago passing by.
“I saw the sign and I was like, ‘Is this really happening?'” she said as she embraced her half-vanilla, half-mocha latté.
“I’ve been off my crack for a while. I have to recommit to my addiction.”
In addition to its hand-crafted espressos, coffees, teas, and blended frozen coffee drinks, the shop also offers create-your-own hot oatmeal, frozen yogurt, Belgian waffles and a selection of wraps, salads and pastry options, all of which are kosher, noted owner Douglas Soclof.
Plain coffee is $1.75 for a small and $2.45 for a large, ice blended coffee drinks are priced from $4.25 to $5.45, and wraps sell for $7.45 to $7.95.