Coffee and Ambience at Caffe Reggio

Travel back in time to the Italian Renaissance at Caffe Reggio in Greenwich Village.


A woman stands outside the entryway of MacDougal Street’s Cafe Reggio. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

Calais Watkins, Staff Writer

An 8 a.m. class is mission impossible without a cup of coffee in hand. My first semester at NYU, my immediate mission was to scout out all of the nearby coffee shops: the perfect study spot, my on-the-run go-to and places to chat with friends. Finding that special place is often a feat. Thankfully, there’s Caffe Reggio.

Located on MacDougal Street, Caffe Reggio is the perfect place to relax when your dorm room or Bobst becomes too stuffy. Whether you need a place to finish some homework, grab a bite to eat or show off a bit of New York City history to visitors, Caffe Reggio fits the bill.

First established in 1927 and said to be the first place to serve cappuccinos in the United States, Caffe Reggio still holds some of the magic from Greenwich Village’s past. It’s also one of a kind.

Italian Renaissance paintings line the walls. The art paired with the dim interior lighting makes one feel as though they traveled back in time to a period when small, intimate restaurants were everywhere.

And when I say intimate, I mean intimate. The tables and chairs are packed in close together throughout the tiny room. If you’re someone who needs a lot of legroom, this might not be ideal. The waiters need to shimmy and slide their way through the maze when delivering food, but they always make it work.

Caffe Reggio’s menu aligns with the old-school Italian theme of the restaurant. There are yogurt concoctions for breakfast, paninis for lunch, pasta for dinner and decadent cakes and cannolis for dessert among many other options.

However, I have to admit, food isn’t where Caffe Reggio shines. Whether it’s to grab a bite with friends or munch on something during a study break, the atmosphere will always be Caffe Reggio’s main attraction.

Though the food may not get five stars, the drink options are a highlight. Caffe Reggio’s coffee is amazing. Served in a variety of old mugs and cups, nothing caffeinated will ever disappoint. Beyond coffee, Caffe Reggio offers a small selection of wine and beer. Open until 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4:30 a.m. on weekends, it is the perfect place to sit down, talk and grab a late-night drink with friends.

A version of this article appears in the Monday, March 11, 2019, edition. Email Calais Watkins at [email protected]