Café Carmellini has opened its doors in New York’s NoMad neighborhood, offering a modern menu of French and Italian cuisine. The name of the restaurant is a nod to chef Andrew Carmellini‘s family business, a coffee importing operation that thrived in Tuscany for 120 years, while the interior design “pays tribute to a timeless Italian brasserie deeply rooted in the modern essence of New York City,” says designer Martin Brudnizki, whose eponymous studio helmed the project.
Café Carmellini is nestled on the ground level of the recently launched Fifth Avenue Hotel, a former five-story Renaissance palazzo designed by McKim, Mead & White (the architects who created quintessential New York buildings like the Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, and the original Pennsylvania Station). The landmarked building underwent a seven-year renovation led by hotelier and owner Alex Ohebshalom.
The magnificence of old New York elegance is captured inside Café Carmellini. The double-height space is animated by two sculptural trees surrounded by vibrant blue banquettes. Juliet balcony seating offers a full view of the dining room, which also includes high-gloss wood and beveled mirror panels. “We wanted to embrace the original neoclassical architecture, paying attention to Juliet balconies that amplify the brasserie’s bright, airy atmosphere,” says Brudnizki.
The restaurant also features a high-gloss timber bar donned with a bronze railing. Oversized chandeliers crafted from bronze and seeded glass illuminate Café Carmellini, while contemporary artwork adds contrast to the neoclassical design. An open kitchen with classic marble counters and blue ceramic tiled walls also “creates a sense of performance, with a theatrical feel enveloping the space,” Brudnizki adds.