Gregory was a surprising last stop on my trip to NY, suprising in a good way. Walking in off the street, seeing the logo, and the worker’s in uniform, I figured I was entering a local chain store and expected a comparable level of quality; satisfying but nothing to write home about. While the store looked like a sleeper, it was anything but. The bar had all the trappings of a “third wave” shop: a Synesso, Aeropress, drips, single origin offerings sourced from a local roaster, etc. They also do their own in house pastries and baked goods, which is definitely a plus for quality. This really struck me; had I been passing by, I would have seen the whole facade as a sign of “chain quality,” like SB. But I am glad I stopped in because the quality of product (the staff were all business and no flair) was quite good (or perhaps, my expectations had been lowered by my presumption of “second wave” quality). The space lacked a little character, but it also lacked a cliched atmosphere and pompous staff. Sometimes, I am there for the product and not so much for the people or atmosphere anyway.
I ordered my cap, “wet” as the barista specified, and was pleasantly surprised. Temperature-wise, it was exceedingly hot but luckily the heat did not destroy the flavor. The milk remained sweet and the espresso was notably smooth and tasty. The art was non-existent and the texture left a little to be desired, but overall the cap was quite good.
I think Gregory has done a good job jumping on the “third wave” trend. I actually appreciated Gregory’s approach; as much as they were “commercial,” manufactured in appearance, and aesthetically akin to chain stores, they carried good products and used top of the line equipment. Sure, one could see this as “trend humping” as more and more chains and older shops are adopting new trappings to keep up with specialty stores. But, can’t argue with results and sometimes, its nice to have an alternative.