Maybe it’s the Korean in me, but I have an ongoing love affair with cafes. (For some reason, every Korean I know is constantly at a cafe, usually sipping one coffee for a long time). I love going in the mornings to get a coffee after my daily walk, I love going in the afternoons for a pick-me-up, and I wish that more were open at night so I could go for a nightcap. I used to go from cafe to cafe in undergrad to motivate myself to do more work, however I’ve found myself doing that less in recent years in part due to the pandemic and in part due to the constantly rising costs of coffee and treats. But while cat-sitting and staying at a colleague’s apartment all week, I really needed to get out of the house for a workday and thought, why not work from a bunch of cafes? I’ve seen dozens and dozens (and dozens) of Korean YouTubers’ videos of cafe hopping around Seoul, and it looked so fun.
It was settled: I would try to work from three different cafes throughout the day so that I could try several drinks and pastries and change up my workspace a few times. So why did I choose to go to Industry City of all places? First, all the photos I’ve seen of the business park have shown so much open seating (and free wifi) that I found it hard to resist. Second, I wanted to see what the fuss was about given their heavy marketing. Third, it was about a two-mile walk from where I was cat-sitting, which is my ideal length for a city walk.
I started off my day at Colson Patisserie, where I got an Almond Pain au Chocolat and a cortado. Colson Patisserie specializes in French and Belgian pastries, and they do a lot of wholesale around the city so I’ve had one of their croissants before. I would say based on what I’ve tried, the pastries are much, much better at the source even though they’re all baked from the same kitchen—the Almond Pain au Chocolat was very flakey, crispy, and had a decent amount of filling and almond topping. The coffee is on the slightly sweeter side even though I didn’t add any sugar, but it was very smooth. I don’t often go for sweet breakfast over savory, but this was a great start to the morning. I took a Salesforce user group call while chowing down; the bread and coffee went well with learning about project management.
I worked for a bit outside in one of the courtyards where there were dozens of small tables and chairs. The wifi connectivity is good even when you’re using a computer from the outside, however due to the shape of the courtyard, you’re basically sitting in a wind tunnel which isn’t ideal on cooler days. I went inside after about 30 minutes and did some more work right in front of Colson Patisserie and HiFi Provisions record shop, where there are some high top tables and a few sofas with coffee tables. There aren’t many outlets though, so it’s a place you definitely come to with a full laptop battery.
My second cafe stop: Tadaima. This place had been on my to-try list for a while, and it was definitely the one I was most excited about. Tadaima isn’t so much a full-on cafe as it is a pastry store—it’s tucked away in the Makers Guild portion of Industry City on the second floor. It’s small and unassuming, yet it’s also very thoughtfully decorated. The pastry selection and drink menu isn’t extensive, though the yuzu rosemary scone and black sesame latte instantly caught my eye.
Tadaima translates to “I’m home” in Japanese, and upon tasting what I ordered I was transported to the version of home envisioned by the baker. The scone is savory, buttery, and flakey, balanced with a tiny bit of sugar. There are hints of citrus and the rosemary really comes through. I thought the flavor profile was lovely, especially as someone who sometimes finds scones to be bland. But the black sesame latte? Ohhhhh boy. I’d argue that this is the best black sesame beverage I’ve had, period. It’s super rich and creamy, slightly sweet, and there’s plenty of ground sesame seeds in the cup. I highly recommend this very cozy drink to treat yourself with, whether it’s to reward yourself with or just to get something to sip on.
I got to explore the Makers Guild a bit since I went to the second floor for Tadaima, including an art gallery, a tattoo shop, and several stores featuring local and handmade goods. I also did some work on that floor both in a cute corner with a few chairs and couches, as well as a massive communal table next to colorful artwork. While I believe the upstairs area sometimes gets used to display goods during holidays or events, this is a fantastic semi-hidden place to work! There are a couple of outlets upstairs and the wifi is great.
The final cafe I visited was One Girl Cookies, which has an additional location in Cobble Hill and a sister cafe called Dawn’s ‘til Dusk in DUMBO. One Girl Cookies has its own dedicated cafe space apart from IC’s communal setting, so it ended up being a nice and quiet place to plop down and finish out my work day. There are a couple of tables inside the store and the interior is really cute and clean.
By the time I got here, I was pastry’d out and couldn’t eat much more in terms of baked goods, so I went with a chocolate whoopie pie and an iced tea. The whoopie pie ended up being very sweet, although the texture was decent. I ended up going back for tea cookies the next day while heading to an event at Brooklyn Kura (a sake brewery in IC), and the tea cookies were delicate and pretty tasty. I’d say One Girl Cookies lives up to their name, so stick with the cookies if you want a sure pick. If you’re looking for an isolated place to work, this is a great location.
I loved checking out Industry City and their cafe and bakery options! New York has tons of market halls now with different food vendors and makers, and IC felt unique because the businesses are scattered throughout different buildings and outdoor spaces. I really wish I lived closer because I can see myself stopping by for udon at Japan Village or grabbing drinks at Standard Wormwood on a weekly basis. IC also has Brooklyn Roasting Company and Avocaderia for more cafe-style options to check out. However, my top pick for Industry City is Tadaima by a long shot. Whether you’re cafe searching or not, definitely check out Industry City!