Sometimes, you need a coffee. Sometimes you need a sandwich. And sometimes, you need a practice space, a yoga class, or a place to host a film screening or curate an art show. Italo’s BK on Broadway can supply what one needs in any of these situations.
Located at 895 Broadway between Belvidere St and Arion Place (across the street from Palisades and down the block from ReCaFo), Italo’s first opened its doors two and a half months ago in mid-December and has been steadily developing its offerings and settling into its rhythm since. But this spot, with exposed brick walls, 14-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows in front (hello, natural light) and, most distinctively, a vast studio in the back, aspires to be more than just another coffee shop.
The versatile studio space is was sets Italo’s apart from other cafes in the neighborhood: it features plywood dance studio-style flooring, tall windows and giant skylights. Yoga classes are currently held three nights a week at 7pm (hatha on Tuesday and Thursdays, vinyasa on Wednesdays), and a life drawing class is held on Monday nights (also at 7pm).
An art show currently hangs along one wall (management is currently accepting requests for art shows). An aerial silk hangs from one of the space’s exposed beams (it’s currently just for fun, but the space can accommodate more). Italo’s would be happy to host baby showers, quinceañeras and other events traditionally held in the neighborhood’s party halls. Bands seeking practice space are invited to use the space as well, and Global Mixx Radio will soon be launching a live-DJ’ed podcast event in the studio on Sunday afternoons. Additionally, one wall of the front space has been intentionally left bare for film projections.
The front of house was designed to be widely accommodating: There are charging outlets and wifi for those in search of a “coffice” and high chairs for those with tiny dining companions. The tables can seat about 30 patrons, many around a big family-style table in the center of the space, but its occupancy capacity is more than twice that, and at 3,600 square feet, the size of the space is triple that of many of the neighborhood’s other cafes.
The food and drink menu focuses on tried and true classics: coffee, tea and espresso, bottled juices and other cold drinks, pastries, bagels and accessibly priced (as in all under $6.50) hot and cold sandwiches comprise the current options.
Proprietor Italo Morelli, a Chilean emigre and former ski instructor who currently lives above his cafe and has lived in the neighborhood for the past five years, started the year-long renovation leading up to his opening right after the owner of the previous business downstairs, Watt Electronics, a repair shop, announced he was closing his business to retire.
The old business was a big influence on the development of the cafe: old equipment is in use in the current sound system, a sound engineer who works with Italo’s worked with the former business, the Watt sign hangs on the wall in the cafe, and a ham and cheese sandwich on the menu is named for the cafe’s predecessor. Operations manager Justin Siegel, a native New Yorker, tells Bushwick Daily that the Italo’s team is trying to “not only build a business, but also build a community—and we’re looking forward to being a stable part of the [Bushwick] community.”
There are more big plans in the works for Italo’s: the team will be expanding the menu to include fresh juices and more vegan and gluten-free food options in the next several months. and in the summer, a small back yard space adjacent to the garden of the Opera House Lofts will be built out. A basement renovation project (timeline still undecided) will provide both more kitchen space, some of which will be outfitted with baking equipment, and a downstairs lounge space (the owners are considering applying for a license to serve beer and wine).
So stop by and say hello—and let Bushwick Daily know when you have an event coming up at the space!
Italo’s BK is located at 895 Broadway between Belvidere St and Arion Place off of the Myrtle Ave – Broadway stop on the J, M and Z trains. Hours of operation vary depending on evening schedule; the phone number is 718-629 8665. The website is italosbk.com, and it can be followed on Facebook.