Honey House already attracting the neighbourhood on East 11th (Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

Honey House already attracting the neighbourhood (Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

Honey House, a recently materialized coffee shop on East 11th Street, may look new—but to East Village locals the face behind the counter might not. Andre Muñez grew up on 26th and Second, and ran Catalog, a vintage boutique, from Honey House’s location for a couple years before he switched from clothing to coffee.

Bags of coffee beans, and record sleeves ready to go up on the walls (Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

Bags of coffee beans, and record sleeves ready to go up on the walls (Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

“My idea with clothing was person-to-person interaction,” says Muñez. “It was a ’90s idea, and I loved what I did, but I had to move forwards from that.” After 2000, internet shopping kind of killed his vibe. “I wanted to find a business that fit what I wanted to do,” he says. “It was either this or a tailor shop…”

His rationale for going with the coffee business? “It’s just kind of classic,” he says. “You’ve never had a bad interaction over a cup of coffee.”

Munez behind the counter (Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

Munez behind the counter (Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

Indeed he’s already found camaraderie with others in the industry—quite a contrast, he says, to the cutthroat world of fashion. But doesn’t he feel threatened by the competition? “The great thing about coffee shops is that it’s now done by the block,” he says, citing a couple of great cafes, all with completely different vibes, within walking distance of Honey House.

Counter (Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

Counter (Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

On a street of sweet offerings (Veniero’s, Insomnia Cookies, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary), Muñez plans to differentiate himself by carrying “the best of New York.” That means pastries, including an almond croissant (“the only croissant!”) from Balthazar, and doughnuts by Brooklyn-based cult-hit Dough. The baked goods should be on the counter by tomorrow, and eventually, they’ll also be branching out into savories.

(Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

(Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

Meanwhile, Muñez is tutoring himself in the ways of great coffee. “We wanna get the cold brew right,” he says. “I have my number books that I’m working on now”—painstakingly researching the correct ratios of water to beans. Luckily he also has a trained barista on hand, and current offerings include all the usual suspects, plus single origin pours and a “Red Eye” (coffee with a shot of espresso).

The menu (Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

The menu (Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

Honey House can be found at 334 E 11th St, between First and Second Avenue. Thanks to Jake Seliger of The Story’s Story for tipping us off to it.