Community Food & Juice

By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Community Food & Juice is located on Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Flat Top. Like the few other spots I’ve already been to in the area, Community is packed most hours. Because of its proximity to Columbia University as well as the 1 train stops on both 110th and 116th Streets, this place buzzes so much during brunch hours that you will most likely have to wait for a table.

The food
Community serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner during weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Perhaps most impressively, Community’s brunch hours are 9am to 3:30pm. In my experience so far, this is practically unheard of.

So of course, I stopped in for brunch not once, but twice in the past 3 weeks.

This restaurant’s brunch menu is absolutely to die for. Patrons can go for anything from classic blueberry pancakes (albeit they are served with delicious warm maple butter) to a bowl of beets: local heirloom beets topped with an orange balsamic reduction, whipped goat cheese, and toasted pistachios. Whoa.

Knowing my brunch habits, however, you ought know that I went for something a bit more downhome and classic: the Country Breakfast, which consists of two eggs any style (sunny side up for me, of course), maple sugar cured ham, carrot hash browns, and a whole wheat buttermilk biscuit. I ate this during both visits to Community Food & Juice, but maybe next time I’ll venture out a bit.

It’s also worth noting that the huevos rancheros (sunny side up eggs served with black beans, guacamole, ranchero sauce, queso fresco, pico de gallo, jalapeno sour cream, and corn tortillas) are the best I’ve ever tasted.

The drinks
The restaurant’s brunch menu includes six signature brunch cocktails all for $10, but Community also offers their full drinks menu during brunch hours (all cocktails there are also $10). If cocktails aren’t your jive, Community serves eight bottled beers, beers on tap, soda (including a soda of the day!), juice, lemonade, tea, and coffee.

In keeping with my downhome meal, I ordered the Catskill Lemonade: Catskill Provisions Local Wildflower Honey Rye, lemonade, and GuS Meyer Lemon Soda on the rocks. Delicious, but perhaps next time I’ll check out the Cherry Old Fashioned: bourbon, muddled amarena cherries and orange zest, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and Fentimans Cherrytree cola. Also whoa.

The service/ambience
The wait staff at this restaurant is outstanding. Everyone is friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. Even on a rainy Sunday mid-morning, the wait isn’t longer than 10 minutes and you’ll likely never feel rushed out for the sake of turning tables either.

Community Food & Juice is a big space with one large room and one small room tucked behind the bar, but there’s also plenty of outdoor seating as well. The tables practically fill the whole main room, which gives off the feeling that the entire neighborhood is hanging out inside this restaurant.

With that said, there are few brunch experiences better than feeling like the whole town is out with you, but somehow still feeling tucked away with your comrades all at once.