Eco-Friendly, Healthful Dining in Midtown Manhattan

Great Spaces looks at new and recently renovated onsite facilities whose design demonstrates unusual flair, innovation or efficiencies.


Segment: B&I
Location: third floor of the new
Hearst Tower on W. 57th Street in
Midtown Manhattan
Customer population: approx. 2,000
Seating: 350
Hours: 7:30-10:30 (breakfast),
11:30-2:30 (lunch), 2:30-4 (pm snack), M-F
Cafe Mgt.: Restaurant Associates
Dining Staff: 50
Avg. Daily Traffic: 550 (breakfast), 1,100 (lunch)
Design: Cafe 57 exhibits a sense of space even when it is full due to its location in a spacious white-marble-floored atrium area flooded with natural light from high glass windows and a glass ceiling, which offer the feeling of dining outside (without the traffic noice).

Access is partly provided by an escalator riding through an indoor waterfall (which recycles rainwater) whose muted rustle communicates a sense of tranquility while also helping cool the space. Glass and steel are the main construction media, and the space sits between an art gallery and a theater.
Philosophy: the cafe emphasizes seasonal, organic choices and sustainability (the building itself is Gold LEED certified). Onsite service is on china with permanentware while takeout containers are made of biodegradeable polymers. A farmer's market takes place onsite once a week during the summer.
Station Concepts: A sushi station offers pre-prepared and to-order selections daily, all made by a master sushi chef; a chef's table with daily restaurant-style dishes made with seasonal ingredients; an action station with meal components assembled to order; A La Plancha, a grill specializing in preparing free-range chicken, hormone/antibiotic-free beef and sustainable seafood; and an international station.

Complementing these are pizza, grill, deli, soup/stew and dessert stations and a salad/antipasti bar. At least one dish each day is from the Hearst magazine/cookbook collection (including the famous Good Housekeeping popovers)
Design: Arlene Spiegel (foodservice consultant); Ira Berber (kitchen design)
Opened: May 15, 2006