Guillaume “G” Guevara isn’t a big fan of the way local businesses represent Mexico: “When I go to a restaurant here it looks like a museum for wackos,” he told us. That’s why he’s opening Miscelanea New York, a grocery, gift shop and takeaway torta/coffee spot featuring products sourced from or inspired by his homeland.
“It’s an extension of Mexico, in a way,” said Guevara. When his store opens in the East Village on July 15, he hopes it’ll be more true to contemporary Mexico than what he has seen in other places during his 12 years of living in New York. “I don’t mean to diminish people’s businesses, but I’ve had an issue with the way Mexico is presented in other establishments,” he said. “It works and it sells, but I don’t like when I go to a Mexican store and everything is luchador masks and mariachi and tequila shots. That’s not the Mexico I grew up with.”
Guevara knows that people who have traveled to Mexico have seen the richness of its galleries, museums, and shops, and he hopes his brightly lit, contemporary space will remind them of that. At Miscelanea, customers will be able to stop in for a Mexican coffee, the beans for which are roasted in Brooklyn. For breakfast and lunch, there’ll be pastries, tortas, fruit salads, and Dough donuts. More sugar highs will come in the form of dulce de leche and Mexican chocolate, and housemade aguas frescas will come in varieties such as watermelon with basil, pineapple with cilantro and ginger, hibiscus with clove and anise seed, or lemon cucumber with thyme.
Miscelanea (the word refers to a “deli”) will also serve as an artisanal bodega with groceries affordable to people with “any type of pocket,” including Abuelita chocolate, Pacifico beer, flavored sea salts, candies, queso Oaxaca or chorizo and tortillas sold by the pound. You can also catch up on your reading with hard-to-find magazines like L’Officiel Mexico, Revista 192, and Revista HojaSanta.
“A store is like makeup for the product and the experience,” said Guevara. “I want the products to speak for themselves and this store is just a little eyeliner for these products. I want something more elevated and current — something that shows that Mexico is out there and that Mexico is up to date.”
In summary, Miscelanea is the perfect place to go if you want a bit of Mexico in New York, but can’t handle any more Frida Kahlo meets donkeys meets sombreros meets lone cactus.
Miscelanea, 63 East Fourth St., bet. Second Ave. and Bowery, East Village; open from 8 am until 7 pm, daily. The kitchen will close at 4pm.