One Place Serves All


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In New York City, where a deli or grocery store can be found on every corner, how can owners of those businesses survive competition? First, the food has to be fresh and tasty. Secondly, the prices should not attack the pockets of an average New Yorker. And finally, the service has to be friendly and welcoming. If this sounds too much for one place, in your opinion, then you’ve probably never been to “Cafe Mercato” located at 648 Broadway.

What distinguishes the place right off the bat is the variety of cuisines offered to customers. You can choose from Japanese and Korean dishes to pasta and pizza specialties. There is also some Mexican food, favorite American burgers and Middle-Eastern gyros. In short, this store reflects the diversity of New York, with its mixture of cultures and cuisines.

One of the best sellers at “Cafe Mercato” is, of course, a burger. Not only this is the all-time American favorite food, but it is also made at the place from fresh ground meat, as opposed to pre-made frozen patty. The customers also love the variety of burgers offered on the menu with unusual items like a Lamb burger, or a melted mozzarella cheeseburger with Irish bacon, mayo and sauteed onions. With all these flavors and freshness, an awesome surprise is the price of the burgers: you can get one for just $6.95-8.45 with lettuce, tomato, pickle and french fries or onion rings. Also, if you get one of the daily specials, you can get a burger and a can of soda for $7.45.

No need to say more: the cost is quite competitive.

Open since mid-December of 2010, “Cafe Mercato” is owned by a businessman of Korean descent, who has had a similar store for about 20 years. Understanding that experience is the key to success, he hired chefs who have been doing the work of the kind for 15-20 years, at least. Savvy about the food they make, the cooks not only make hamburgers from fresh ground meat; in fact, they also prepare their own breaded chicken and fish cutlets they use for sandwiches, made from fresh meat that is delivered every morning.

If sandwiches and burgers make you worry about gaining weight, you may opt for the salad bar at “Cafe Mercato.” There are hot meat and pasta dishes, fruit and vegetable salads (make your own), and even shrimps on the bar. Fruit and vegetables are cut twice a day, and they’re always fresh and appetizing. Try to get there before the lunch rush (12pm-3pm ); otherwise, there won’t be much food left. For a healthy drink, try a fresh squeezed juice, orange, carrot or mixed.

Since the food is freshly made, customers can order whatever they want, even if it’s not on the menu, so feel free to request whatever you want. The managers at “Cafe Mercato” believe that their customers’ opinions are important, and they welcome any suggestions for improvement, so that they can grow and improve the service as the business develops. There are no comment cards yet, and all suggestions should be spoken out, but hopefully soon, the patrons will be able to write a note to the management and make the place even more suitable for them.

tiny but functional bar

And finally, what is surprising for a store like that, “Cafe Mercato” has a variety of bottled and draft beers, so if you’re 21 or older, you can go to the place not only for their yummy food, but also for a drink. The bar is small, but since it’s not the central point of the business, it’s not paid too much attention to.

With breakfast served 6am-11am and the store open 24-7, “Cafe Mercato” is a truly a place that serves all. Therefore, whether you’re going there for a Reuben, a Udon, a Sushi roll or a Panini, you will surely find something that will satisfy your taste buds and something that will entice you to come back and try what you’ve never had before.

Ekaterina Lalo

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