September 28, 2011 | By Shannon Kelly
Barcelona hotspot seeks identity as New York gourmet grocery. Or at least that's the word on the street (and on the web) about Cornelia and Co.
Fortunately for the owners- this restaurant meets specialty shop is more than just a Dean & Deluca imitation. Sure there is a nod to the iconic retailer but, for the most part, the space feels like a streamlined Italian bodega or a stunning Spanish version of one of the MoMA cafes.
Billed as a “Daily Picnic Store”, the merchandising of food products ranging from packaged meats and delicious cheeses to an International selection of wine and to-go antipasti. Stainless steel casework is used in combination with mismatched furniture and a monochromatic palate to showcase an authentic love of food under vaulted ceilings.
Italian touches, from equipment to products (both prosciutto and jamon iberico are represented side by side on the menu) are highlighted purposefully within the U-shaped space. The cafe-style seating flanks both walls, with a larger space dedicated eating areas toward the back of the room to give the impression of distinct environments.
Shelves filled with gourmet products for "picnicking" are adjacent to a buffet-style hot station. The all-day restaurant shifts gears in the evening, when the the cafeteria closes and servers attend to the tables of lawyers having an after work cocktail, couples dining on freshly-made pasta and beautiful people toasting with glasses of Cava (or Prosecco).
There's a great blend of informality and structure in the design philosophy of the environment as well as the branding. Clipboards securing the dinning menu feel more American schoolhouse than Catalonian with chalkboard black and white graphics.
The refrigerated cheese cellar is a hidden treasure within the interior part of the U-shape. No matter where you look, there is something to captivate your eyes and wallets.
Always a sucker for beautifully packaged foods, the service clearly makes Cornelia and Co. a destination. In a city full of compelling design we love the chic downtown atmosphere, tempting displays, and exquisite merchandising.