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Brooklyn's first all-avocado restaurant is where millennial dreams are made

Can one live on avocado toast alone? The Independent investigates

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 26 May 2017 14:03 BST
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(Sam Bader)

Surrounded by a sea of pale green contrasted by pops of colour – beetroot burgundy here, tomato red there – I question whether there’s such a thing as too much avocado. To my left there is a plate of Mediterranean toast – a smashed avocado base topped with cherry and sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and pistachio dukkah. To my right there’s the remains of “Let it Beet” – toast with eye-catching beetroot humus, watermelon radish, spiced seeds, agave mustard dressing and, of course, avocado, this time thinly sliced. Across the table sits a “burger” – two avocado halves filled with herbed yogurt, smoked salmon and rocket salad.

This is Avocaderia, Brooklyn’s newest fad eatery featuring, you guessed it, dishes made from avocado. Every item on the menu includes this trendiest of foodstuffs in some way, shape or form, though the toasts are obviously the stand-out items on the menu. Avocaderia makes five of them, all under $12.

It’s been something of a tough year for avocados. As the fruit started popping up on more and more menus, it also skyrocketed in price (so much so that US magazine The Atlantic recently touted the “Return of the Avocado as a Luxury Item”).

The combination of the superfood’s popularity and its growing market price made the avocado a prime target for columnists and talking heads.

Columnist Bernand Salt chastised millennials for buying “smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop”. Australian millionaire Tim Gurner took it a step further, claiming young people's’ penchant for avocado toast is keeping them from affording a home.

(Sam Bader (Sam Bader)

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he told 60 Minutes Australia.

Avocados, it seems, have come to be a shorthand for millennial decadence, self-indulgence, and general irresponsibility. But that hasn’t stopped Avocaderia cashing in.

The restaurant – which is actually more of a lunch counter – is located in a suitably trendy food hall in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Sunset Park. The sprawling food court, which boasts everything from Shanghai street food to artisan butchers, was actually intended to service workers in the surrounding area. But most of Avocaderia’s customers appear to be from out of town. Travellers from Slovenia, Poland, and Paris tell me they made a special pit stop at the restaurant on their short trips to New York.

They’d heard about it, of course, on social media.

(Sam Bader (Sam Bader)

Filippo Brachetti, brother of co-founder Francesco, admits this is part of Avocaderia’s business model.

“It’s kind of a destination,” he tells me. “It’s unique. If you want to see it, you have to come here – you don’t have other options.”

The founders started their Instagram account six months before the store even opened, posting preview images of artfully crafted avocado rosettes and bright pink beetroot hummus.

(Sam Bader (Sam Bader)

In fact, every piece of Avocaderia seems built for an Instagram photo, from the plethora of potted plants hanging behind the counter to the green neon sign reading “Smash in NYC”. It’s enough to make any millennial start drooling.

When photos of the restaurant started circulating online, Eater NY described it as “a parody of trendy foods of the moment”.

“Will Brooklyn ever stop being so extremely itself?” mused lifestyle website Thrillist.

I ask Brachetti if he’s afraid the avocado will go out of style with his generation.

“There are countries like Mexico where they’ve been eating avocado every day for decades,” he says. “Because, I mean, it’s good.”

(Sam Bader)

“It’s tasty,” he adds later. “It tastes like fat, but it doesn’t make you fat. There are really few downsides.”

And he has a point. Everything at Avocaderia tastes rich and decadent, but without the accompanying guilt of a meal slathered in butter or oil. Even my avocado “burger” is 100 per cent trans-fat free.

Brachetti says the secret to their success is in the quality of the avocados: each one is imported from an organic farm in Mexico, where his brother first fell in love with the fruit.

The menu also offers a few salads and a single avocado smoothie; Brachetti says more smoothie offerings – and an all-avocado breakfast menu – are in the works.

(Sam Bader (Sam Bader)

“The whole idea is to do something healthy and light,” he tells me. “Something you can eat every day, but quickly.”

The food is definitely healthy and light, but eating it every day seems like a stretch. At this point, the limited menu’s best offering is the avocado toast, and – thanks to this generation’s newfound obsession with the delicacy – there are places on every other corner of Manhattan that can do it just as well.

Tellingly, I only meet one repeat customer during my visit.

“Last time I was here my phone died, and I couldn’t take any pictures,” she tells me sheepishly. “So I had to come back.”

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