Anyone who has made a quick caffeine pitstop in the Eternal City knows that to sip espresso in Rome typically means leaning against a small counter, tearing open packets of sugar from a bowl located somewhere nearby, and quickly tossing back your coffee, often chased by the tiny glass of water your quick-handed barista serves with it. There may be a few tables if the spot is large enough, but it's more common to see Romans standing around, sipping a cappuccino and nibbling a pastry—only in the mornings, mind you—before ambling off to work or their next destination. The to-go cup has not caught on there the way we rely on it here.
All that's to set the scene for Caffe Marchio, Danny Meyer's latest and his interpretation of the stand-up Roman coffee bar. There aren't any chairs or stools, just undulating marble countertops decorated with napkin boxes, spoons and other coffee-drinking essentials. Behind the counter, baristas coax water through dark ground espresso and froth up milky lattes and mochas throughout the day; in the afternoon and evening, they pour drams of Cynar and other liqueurs, also befitting the Italian tradition.
Pop in for an overstuffed Maritozzi con la Panna ($4), a decadent cream-filled bun, or slice of Ciambellone, the Italian version of bundt cake. Egg sandwiches are Frittata Panini here, seasoned with prosciutto and potato or cacio e pepe, an interpretation of Rome's most famous pasta creation.
From 11 a.m. until the cafe closes at 6 p.m., sandwiches include hot pollo alla cacciatora ($9) and eggplant parmigiana ($9) and cold, triangular sandwiches on soft white bread, "Tramezzini"—the kind common to both cafes and encased in plastic at grocery stores across Europe—stuffed with mozarella and spinach.
In a few weeks, the team will debut Vini e Fritti, which again channels Italian tradition but this time with the evening aperitivi experience.
30 East 30th Street; caffemarchio.com
Caffe Marchio Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd