Malcolm Stogo may be the godfather of ice cream, but his latest venture is all about eating healthy.
With Brazilia Cafe, Stogo, known for inventing the Cookies and Cream ice cream flavor and the chocolate waffle cone, has been busy of late bringing the best coffee and healthy dining experience to NoHo.
The part-coffeehouse, part-marketplace, part- café, first opened in Germany, where it did so well Stogo decided to bring it to New York. In addition to selling coffee sourced from the company’s own Brazilian plantation, Brazilia also sells juices and a menu of Brazilian-influenced foods. This wouldn’t be a Stogo joint without some dessert, though, and there’s also a variety of gelatos to indulge your sweet tooth.
Stogo clues us in to making great coffee and juices and what he thinks about frozen yogurt.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of Brazilia Cafe?
A Three years ago, my best friend from Saudi Arabia helped me out with a restaurant in Germany. He wanted to buy a plantation and serve food and coffee in a relaxing environment. The idea of coffee is perfect for New York. We aren’t just selling coffee, but we are selling beans. Now we are selling an experience with healthy foods and delicious coffee, juices and even pizzas.
How did you decide on the store design?
The Costa Group designed Eataly and we wanted a similar aesthetic for Brazilia. I loved the concept of Eataly, but I wanted a smaller and more intimate scale and a place that was good-looking.
What’s your business model?
A Seed to cup. We also have nine silos, each with different beans. We roast coffee in Brooklyn so it’s fresh every week. The staff is trained to make it four to five different ways. It’s like wine tasting, but with coffee.
What do you love most about Brazil?
A I love the juices. And the restaurants have a great food experience. And, acai is getting more popular here like it is in Rio.
Tell me more about your juices at Brazilia.
A We hired the best juice consultant, Yohana Guzman. She was the manager of Liquiteria for 10 years. The president of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, pulled her out of Florida and moved her to Seattle to create Evolution Fresh juices. She developed the juice bar and smoothies for us like the Citrus Kick, The Cleanser and Banana-Rama.
Do you still make ice cream?
I now own DF Mavens, where we make our own dairy-free ice cream. We sell to restaurants like Il Mulino. Our first store will be open in the East Village and our factory is in Astoria, where we make dairy and non-dairy ice cream that’s soy, almond and coconut-based. I make custom flavors for Seth \[Levine\], who is the chef at the Gurney’s in Montauk. We make him celery, cucumber and savory sorbets to go with his oyster bar. They are the new condiments with a modern twist. We even make vegetable pops and gazpacho sorbet: salad on a stick.
What do you think of frozen yogurt?
A It’s a fad and it will disappear. It’s cheap yogurt with stuff loaded on top. That’s not what we make.
I opened up Brazilia Cafe and DF Mavens because it takes as much work to open a small restaurant as it does a big one. It’s never about luck, it’s always about hard work.