A Visit to The Butcher's Daughter
Photos by Signe Birck
I love my neighborhood. As in LOVE. On our tiny Nolita block, we have an amazing Mexican spot, a fantastic little wine shop specializing in organic and biodynamic wines, two jewelry workshops, three clothing boutiques, a Turkish wine bar, a delicious brunch spot, AND – as of a few months ago – an adorable juice bar and vegetarian cafe.
Welcome to The Butcher's Daughter, my next door neighbor and home-away-from home. March may be almost over, but thanks to their ready supply of fresh-pressed juices and veggie-filled soups and salads, #marchwellness will carry on. In fact the menu–with its wheatgrass shots, kale and quinoa salads, home-made almond butter, and curry-infused avocado toasts, almost seemed to be created with #marchwellness in mind. In the past month, I have managed to cram as many breakfast, lunch, coffee, and dinner dates here as possible – and aside from its limited seating – I have never been disappointed.
Situated in a sunny, plant-filled space on the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare, this cozy cafe is the brainchild of 33-year-old Heather Tierney, a food writer-turned-restauranteur best known for the sceney Chinatown cocktail bars (Apotheke and Pulqueria) she runs with her brother Christopher. Though juicing may seem like a total departure from mixology, Tierney actually sees it as a natural progression.
"The way we approach cocktails [at Apotheke] is the way we approach juicing here," says Tierney, explaining the way they subtly layer flavors in each juice. "We have a juicer at Apotheke, and even make cocktails out of kale. If we took the alcohol out, [each cocktail] would still be an amazing juice."
And indeed, the juices at The Butcher's Daughter–with whimsical names like Rubies in the Dust, Goddess of Green, and Hangover Killer–are something special. Tierney brought on ABC Kitchen's juicing expert Brandi Kowalski to help concoct a rainbow-colored line of juices that cover the entire spectrum of nutritional needs, without sacrificing taste.
*Heather Tierney, owner of The Butcher's Daughter
"I saw a real void in the juice market," explains Tierney. "I often drank juices that just didn't taste good. I wanted my juices to taste good and look pretty."
The two women spent last summer holding juice tastings in Tierney's loft, perfecting the flavors and colors. "Many nights we got over-juiced and had to order a pizza!" she says with a laugh. The juices (packaged in super-cute 16-ounce recycled glass bottles) come in two varieties: Simple ($8) and Heritage ($9). I've sampled quite a few (all fantastic), but my go-to concoctions are: #4 Green (kale, cucumber, and apple), #8 Honey Bee (grapefruit, turmeric root, yuzu, kumquat, anjou pear, honey, bee pollen) and #11 Eastern Promise (lemongrass, anjou pear, cucumber, ginger, lime, kaffir lime leaf). Best of all, the fruits and vegetables used in the juices are all locally sourced via Mike's Organics from farms in upstate New York or Connecticut.
So what's with the name, you might be wondering? Tierney is actually NOT a butcher's daughter, and the menu is predominately vegan. Fascinated by old-fashioned butcher's shops, Tierney wanted to create a light, airy space that gave vegetables the starring role in lieu of meat. Fresh produce hangs from hooks, and a display case is filled with juice bottles rather than sausages or cuts of steak. The menu, designed by vegan chef Joya Carlton (formerly of Buvette) is full of playful meat-inspired dishes made from vegetables, like Beet Tartare, Mushroom & Walnut Pate, and a Butcher's "Burger" made from kasha and portobello mushrooms, with cashew cheddar.
"Our food is very much in tune with food you actually want to eat," says Tierney (who is actually not a vegetarian). The space has been packed since its November opening, and coming soon, there will be 40 additional outdoor seats. Though I'm loathe to share this spot with the rest of NYC, I suppose it's inevitable that the word would spread about this neighborhood gem. I'm just grateful I only have to walk down 76 stairs to get there.
*All photos by Signe Birck, with the exception of Heather Tierney's portrait.
PRETTY IN PINK
This is an adaptation of the Honey Bee, from The Butcher's Daughter.
10 ounces pear (cored)
4 ounces ruby red grapefruit (peeled)
1/2 ounce yuzu
1/2 ounce honey
Pinch bee pollen, for garnish
Juice all ingredients and garnish with bee pollen. Drink immediately!