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THE WINNER: KAHVE

“Kahve has THE BEST almond milk chai latte. Ever,” says Sarah. “I’m salivating just thinking about it. I would make the trek from any rehearsal studio in midtown just to get my hands on that delicious drink. And when I was feeling extra-fine, their delicious melt-in-your-mouth cookies were an added bonus.”

“Kahve is such a great local coffee shop,” agrees Jenny. “I love their flavored coffees, and their avocado toast is unmatched.”

“The staff has ALWAYS been very friendly,” says Scott. “One of the draws has been their featured flavored coffees. And we buy beans by the pound – they are the BEST!”

“Kahve was my first ‘neighborhood coffee shop’ in New York,” says Aaron. “My routine visits to Kahve make Hell’s Kitchen feel local, from the fellow regulars, to my peers in the theatre world, to the many cute dogs, and the equally cute baristas. I always linger a little too long by the counter, sometimes listening to Luis describe the book he soon hopes to write, while he prepares my medium dirty chai with almond milk (for special occasions only); other times chatting with Philip, the Broadway dresser and bead-extraordinaire. No matter the location, Kahve is my home base.”

Kahve, W51st St – 9th/10th Ave

RUNNER UP: REX

“Rex is a stand out repeatedly,” says Derrick. “It feels like a quality artisanal coffee shop in a small town because the counter help remembers your name and the aromatic coffee is a noticeable cut above the rest, along with the customizable breakfast sandwiches, which are the bomb! The coffee treats are also home made – and they’re not sickeningly sweet. The other lunch items have the same reasonable prices and high-quality details … plus they sell unique, seasonal, cool items that make Rex a must.”

Rex, 10th Ave – 57th St

RUNNER UP: THE JOLLY GOAT

“My wife says The Jolly Goat makes the best cortado in NYC (and she doesn’t mince words about coffee),” says Tom. “In addition, I think Murat is one of the quintessential Hell’s Kitchen small business superstars – always interested in each individual customer, always friendly and engaged, always thinking about and adapting to his customers’ needs and wants, and improving his business and service. He takes extraordinary care to provide a quality experience to every person who enters his shop. He knows intuitively – spiritually – that if you can start your day with an exceptional, quality cup of coffee, you’re more likely to extend that attention to detail, and taste, and care, and aspiration in every walk of your day from that point forward.”

“The Jolly Goat is one of my favorite neighborhood stops,” says Elizabeth. “At only 350 square feet, it bursts with flavor. The coffee is delicious. The ever-smiling owner, Murat, roasts his own blends, which he also sells in 12-oz bags so you can have it at home for those days you are too lazy to leave the apartment.

“In addition to the fresh-roasted coffee, Murat also makes his own granola. During the worst of COVID in NYC, The Jolly Goat focused on community service and provided surgical masks at low cost and started selling fresh yogurt and farm eggs. Murat loves to chat with his customers (and he knows us all). This sometimes can create a bit of a wait … but it’s worth it!”

The Jolly Goat, W47th St – 10th/11th Ave

HONORABLE MENTION: ROMEO & JULIET

“It’s hard in NY to find not only a place that serves high-quality good food and drink, but also where service is exceptional,” says Sophie. “Great detail to attention is paid to the drinks. They’ve got the social distancing thing nailed down.”

Romeo & Juliet, W42nd St – 11th Ave

HONORABLE MENTION: BIRD AND BRANCH

“I love their business model,” says Leanne. “A specialty coffee shop with a mission to restore the city. I support and celebrate businesses that give back to the community. This model was important before COVID – now it’s imperative.”

“Bird and Branch is awesome.,” says Regina. “They have a social mission of having a job training program for people with barriers to employment. Their coffee beans come from roasters that do direct trade and sourcing and are committed to sustainability and responsibility. They spend a lot of time designing delicious signature drinks, some seasonal. Their food are mostly made in house, and they continue to come up with new things like shaved ice. Even their syrups are made in house and use fresh ingredients.”

Bird and Branch, W45th – 8th/9th Ave

HONORABLE MENTION: UT47

“UT47 has all the classic comforts of a coffee shop,” says Candice, “delicious brew and snacks – plus unique flavors with a Korean fusion twist (my favorite is the ginger latte). Whether you want a boba tea to go or to hang out and share dumplings with a friend, UT47 hits the spot.”

UT47, W47th St – 8th/9th Ave

HONORABLE MENTION: AMY’S BREAD

“Why do we love Amy’s Bread?” says Jenny. “Well, the staff are lovely, but we are mostly just addicted to their chocolate twists in this house. I am also a big fan of the quiches. It’s the perfect place to pick up a treat for a Sunday morning.”

Amy’s Bread, 9th Ave – 46th/47th St

For more of Hell’s Kitchen’s Hot 100, see the best stores, and best places to eat.