When business partners Andrew Fazio and Wilson Johnson teamed up to create Suited (45 John Street), Lower Manhattan’s newest cafe, it was with the understanding that you can find good sandwiches or a good cup of coffee all over New York City, but not always at the same place.
“Where the food is good, sometimes it’s hard to find good coffee,” Wilson told the Downtown Alliance, “and where one finds good coffee in the city, sometimes the food doesn’t keep up as much. So we’re really trying to do this on a strong level.”
Fazio and Wilson are dedicated to getting the balance just right. Suited utilizes a multi-roaster, third-wave coffee program to source the freshest beans around for their java, partnering with local roasters as close as Red Hook and Long Island City and as far away as Arkansas and Ottawa. In the kitchen, Wilson — who describes himself as “South Georgia-raised and French-braised” — whips up fresh pastries, savory toasts and sandwiches for patrons to enjoy alongside their coffee. And though the beef bourguignon with onions, mushrooms and bacon has proven itself to be a cold weather classic, Wilson said he’s also partial to a more recent creation: a roasted sweet potato sandwich, which is served on house-made focaccia.
For a business that opened its doors for the first time on March 17, only to close them just one day later when the citywide COVID-19 shutdown went into effect, Wilson said that the slower growth and continued uncertainty about potential new restrictions have forced him into a “take things one day at a time” mentality.
“You only get one shot to make a first impression, and while there’s still plenty of people that have no idea that we’re here in the neighborhood, after four or five months of business, we were hoping to maybe have a few more employees in the front and the back,” he said.
Wilson himself built the cafe’s outdoor dining setup just two months ago, though he said he’s already eyeing options for a covered and heated seated area for the cold winter months ahead.
“On the bright side of things, we don’t have a history before the pandemic, so we don’t have too many losses to see,” Wilson said. “But on the other side, it’s just really about picking and choosing how we move forward.”