A Russian group is rebranding its Manhattan outpost as an “American Bistro.”
Coffeemania, a popular Russian restaurant group that landed in Manhattan in early 2017, is changing its name in the U.S. The reason? Well, for one, they serve a lot more than coffee.
Despite the original Coffeemania branding, which proved confusing to many passersby, the midtown Manhattan restaurant established itself as one of the most intriguing new restaurants in New York City.
While helmed by departing chef Titus Wang, who was named an Eater Young Gun during his sous chef stint at Anita Lo’s dearly departed Annissa, the restaurant quickly accumulated industry buzz from reviewers curious about the disconnect between the name and the creative, varied menu. As at the Moscow locations, pasta, baked goods, and more are all made in house.
Emily Baldwin, a press contact and unofficial spokesperson for the company, explained that the name Coffeemania carries a lot of weight in Moscow.
“People there realize that it has a lot more to offer than coffee,” she told Travel + Leisure. “It’s really a pervasive, very popular brand.”
Sixteen years ago, when the first location opened, it was indeed a simple coffee shop — but it has evolved over time to accommodate demand for increasingly sophisticated food and dining atmosphere. This brand cachet is, understandably, not well known in New York City. Still, “the Russian expatriates knew it and came in,” said Baldwin.
Evgeny Zhuralev, director of international business development for Coffeemania, described the bittersweet process of rebranding a beloved Moscow institution in a statement on Wednesday: “While we had hoped to carry on the tradition of our original name here in the United States, we soon realized that many people found it misleading and assumed we were just a coffee shop.”
The food speaks for itself, but the trouble was getting people in the door: “The guests who have experienced what we are all about quickly realized that we are an upscale social culinary spot for any time of day, but many other potential guests were confused.”
A departure from the Coffeemania brand makes sense, then, for a restaurant that has become much more than a chain café — after all, how many Starbucks are getting starred reviews or attention from the media? The new name, L’ADRESSE American Bistro, is meant to be more in line with the type of Manhattan restaurant that they are becoming.
Baldwin told T+L that “they wanted the name to match how they would describe themselves. A culinary experience, but not overly fancy and fussy.”
The rebrand also comes with a changing of the guard, as Isaac Correa takes over the Bryant Park kitchen as Executive Chef. A lifelong restaurant industry pro, Correa actually moved to Moscow in the early ‘90s and found a career bringing Western food into the mainstream in post-Soviet Russia. He started working with the Coffeemania brand in 2002 and remained in Moscow until 2015, then moved back to the U.S. to spearhead the Sarasota, Florida, restaurant Baker & Wife.
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With his triumphant return to the Coffeemania group, Correa aims to work with local farmers to develop its refined seasonal menu. Lee Hernandez, formerly of Zuma and Brushstroke, is staying on after the transition as Chef de Cuisine.