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TWO HANDS IS LEADING NYC'S AUSTRALIAN CAFE BOOM

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MARISA PETRARCA

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA TWO HANDS | FACEBOOK

New Yorkers drawn to aesthetically pleasing dining experiences and coffee so good it’s criminal may have ventured into one of the many Australian-inspired cafes that the city has to offer, even without knowing it. With bright, airy spaces, uncommonly healthy and delicious food, and a socially buzzing environment, it’s hard not to fall in love with the mood-boosting experience — or the caffeine overload.

That’s not to say that the cafes are only popping up in NYC. The wave of laid-back, all-day hangouts are becoming a country-wide phenomenon, attracting foodies with nutritious fare that’s presented like a masterpiece: folded eggs garnished with greens, unforgettable flat white coffees, and thick, Pinterest-worthy avocado toast.

As city-goers continue to flock to these Aussie hot spots as their go-to coffee nook or brunch spot , it would seem that superior espresso and a culture celebrating the simplicity of connecting with your neighbors is a winning formula. But no matter how many join the scene, there’s one shop that’ll wow you with their Aussie hospitality from morning till arvo (that’s “afternoon” in the Australian dictionary).

BREKKIE AT ITS FINEST

With four locations in NYC, Two Hands takes first place in an Aussie cafe popularity contest. Australian restaurateurs Henry Roberts and Giles Russell opened up their first location on Mott Street in 2014 with the mission of creating a community-focused cafe full of simple foods and next-level coffee. And that they did.

At Two Hands—and most Australian cafes, for that matter— breakfast is available all day long. Just a few of the favorites at Two Hands include avocado toast, acai bowls, and banana bread topped with espresso mascarpone.

As with many buzzy NYC brands in the modern age, social media plays a big role in the abounding success of the cafe. It quickly became one of the coolest, Instagrammable spots in the city and consequently pleased the palates of celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Romee Strijd and Leonardo DiCaprio.

What separates Two Hands and other top-rated Australian cafes from your average spot in the city is every component of the experience is “purpose-built”, from the tastiness of the food and the artful plate it’s presented on to the menu layout and thoughtful interiors.

Two Hands’ interior features lots of greenery, exposed brick and a vibe that’s the perfect combination of relaxed and beachy. It’s the kind of place where you don’t have to sacrifice your dining experience to stay gluten-free, and the coffee and drink menu is just as lengthy as the food list, where you can order a Veggie Burger just as easily as you might the paleo-friendly Brassicas Bowl with charred broccolini, Brussels sprouts, kale, hummus, avo, and more.

DOWN UNDER ON THE UP

Two Hands isn’t an anomaly, and it’s in VERY good company when it comes to compatriot cafes. 2013–2014, arguably, brought the birth of the Australian-inspired spaces in NYC. It’s when popular competitors Little Collins, Bluestone Lane, Ruby’s, Sweatshop, Brunswick, and Dudley’s came onto the scene as well, introducing New Yorkers to the lively yet slower-paced Aussie experience.

Australian cafes have continued to open year after year since the beginning. Following in their photogenic footsteps were Citizens and Black Fox Coffee in 2016; Banter and Hutch + Waldo in 2017; Charley St and Good Thanks in 2018; and Hole in the Wall in 2019.

With such a vast amount of cafes on the market, it’s hard to imagine the trend dying down anytime soon. Will there ever be an end to the Aussie takeover? Probably not. And for busy, stressed-out, coffee-loving residents of the concrete jungle, why would you want it to end?

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