When Wendy McClean’s father died last year from diabetes, she was devastated.
Her father’s disease made her begin to look more closely at her own eating habits and at the habits of those around her, and she knew it was high time to make a change.
McClean, who is the owner of Denim Lounge, located at 1223 Bedford Avenue, also owned a small space at 1013 Bedford Ave. at the corner of Lafayette Ave., which she used to rent out for private parties.
Encouraged to bring healthier food choices to her community, she decided to renovate the small space at 1013. And on Saturday, June 9, she debuted to the community Denim Café, a fruit and vegetable juice bar, that also serves espresso coffees, pastries, breakfast and lunch fare.
Already the buzz about the new café is spreading throughout the nabe, and it couldn’t be in a more ideal spot: five steps from the Bedford/Nostrand G-train stop and right in front of the B-44 that runs along Bedford Ave.
Some of Denim Café’s food items include the G-Train Sandwich made of turkey, gruyere, greens and grain mustard; the Garden Gifts Sandwich made of roasted veggies and coulis. All of Denim's sandwiches are $5 or under. Denim also offers pasta salads, potato salads and fruit salads for $2. For breakfast they serve granola pancakes, omelets, muffins and a wide variety of cupcakes and pastries. Most items in the cafe are under $10.
The cafe's small round tables double as erasable chalkboards, equipped with colored chalk, where you can sip and scribe.
The space’s attractive interior is reminiscent of a Sultan’s hideaway with a distinctly Brooklyn-Bohemian-artsy vibe. The best way to describe it might be grown-and-sexy. Ask someone else, however, and they might just as easily describe it as “cute,” while another may call it “artsy-alternative.” Basically, it’s Brooklyn.
There’s seating in the back: a small area that is shared partly with a glass-encased kitchen, void of a roof, giving patrons an indoor/outdoor experience of a Saudi Arabian corner café.
There’s so much going on inside of the Denim Café – artistically, architecturally – you almost forget that it’s supposed to be a healthy juice bar. And that’s just upstairs...
Downstairs is a hookah lounge, another touch of Bohemian, for those who want to puff tobacco in style. The hookah lounge is open Thursdays through Sundays, after 5:00 p.m. Also downstairs, the owner plans to showcase the works of local artists.
“We are willing to work with artists to showcase their work in the gallery downstairs,” said Helen, the bar’s manager. “Everything that has been done in the store has been done by local artists-- everything, the chairs, the trimmings. We are working in the community so that everybody is able to benefit from the business.”
Denim Café’s hours are 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (although when I stopped by the following day at 8:45 a.m. to buy a coffee, they had not yet opened).
Denim Café will be participating in the annual “Make Music New York” showcase, beginning Thursday, June 21. So there will be a number of featured bands playing inside and outside of the location while patrons munch on pasta and a G-Train Sandwich.
So stop in to Denim Café, and take advantage of the great vibes, great music, great easthetics, great food… and, oh yeah… Be sure not to leave without first ordering a fresh-squeezed carrot-beet-and-kale juice!
UPDATE 6/21: Denim Café has ammended its hours: The store is now open 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; Saturdays, brunch starts at 11:00 (closing time will vary depending upon traffic); And the store hopes to be opening soon on Sundays, as well as offering extended hours Thursday through Saturday, as traffic grows.