New York has some avocado competition.
A new all-avocado cafe has opened in Chinatown, within a year of a similar Brooklyn concept’s debut.
Avocado Appetit has been serving avocado toasts and smoothies for about a month, though owners say the eatery has been in development for more than a year — before Avocaderia opened in Industry City last spring.
“We saw an opportunity was there and we seized it,” said co-owner Vincent Lin, 26. “We don’t think of them as competition at all. We’re in completely different neighborhoods.”
Lin and co-owners James Mai, 26, and Lifu Liu, 24 — all friends from Chinatown — were inspired by an all-avocado café in Amsterdam, The Avocado Show, when developing their first restaurant. Similar concepts can also be found in Nashville (AVO) and Singapore (Guac & Go).
With avocado toast an enduring, Instagrammable dining trend, there was no doubt Avocado Appetit would have several options on the menu (developed by Mai, who previously worked at Cipriani Wall Street). Options range from a caprese take to a toast topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers.
But in the off-chance you’re not coming for an avo toast, there are also a couple sandwiches on the menu and “snacks” such as the battered avocado fries.
A smoothie standout for Lin is the Indonesian-inspired coffee avocado smoothie, which has a shot of Toby’s Estate espresso.
“Not a lot of people would think of the combination of avocado and coffee,” he said.
Avocado Appetit priced its menu, ranging from $8 to $12 for its toasts and sandwiches, with the fluctuating price of avocados in mind.
The shop isn’t doing delivery to ensure quality control. “When the toasts are made fresh, they should be eaten fresh,” Lin said.
Whether or not you’re over the avocado toast hype, Americans in general are eating it up. Tech company Square crunched the numbers and found customers spent nearly $900,000 on avocado toast from U.S. Square sellers in June 2017 — up from $17,000 in June 2014.
People are buying more avocados in general, too: According to the Hass Avocado Board, avocado dollar sales for a 13-week period ending Oct. 1 were up 13.3 percent, versus 3.1 percent growth for all fruit sales.
Avocaderia co-founder Alessandro Biggi sees another avocado spot as “contributing to the movement.”
“Competition has always been there,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think what’s really important is that you keep standards really high — the food has to be the number one priority.”
Avocaderia also wants to build “a sense of community,” which includes more Avocaderias. It plans to expand in NYC and beyond, starting with a second outpost slated to open this spring at Chelsea’s Terminal Warehouse, and just got a big capital boost to help: Biggi walked away with $400,000 in investments on the Feb. 11 episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
An Avocaderia cookbook is also in the works with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All this buzz is encouraging to Avocado Appetit, which “absolutely” has an eye on expansion, too.
“We’ve been following the Brooklyn one since they opened,” Lin said. “We knew this idea was great.”
With Nicole Levy
TALE OF THE TAPE
We compare NYC’s two all-avocado restaurants.
Avocado Appetit: January 2018
Avocaderia: April 2017
Avocado Appetit: 114 Eldridge St., Chinatown
Avocaderia: 238 36th St., Sunset Park
Avocado Appetit: $6-$12
Avocado Appetit: Avocados From Mexico
Number of signature avocado toasts
Avocado Appetit: 5
Mashed or sliced?
Avocado Appetit: Both
Avocado Appetit: Sourdough, multigrain
Avocaderia: Multigrain, sourdough, pumpernickel
Avocado food impersonation
Avocado Appetit: “Fries” dipped with spicy mayo
Avocaderia: “Burger” with smoked salmon
Avocado Appetit: None officially, but the coffee avocado smoothie has chocolate syrup
Avocaderia: Avo-chocolate mousse
Avocado Appetit: “You’re all I AVO wanted”
Avocaderia: “Smashed in NYC”
Avocado Appetit: Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (earlier hours might be in the works)
Avocaderia: Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.