The scene is legendary. In the opening of Blake Edwards’ 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the young protagonist Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) steps out of a yellow cab at dawn to enjoy an informal breakfast – a croissant and a coffee, both taken out of a paper bag – in front of the renowned Fifth Avenue jeweler’s window displays. The building at number 727 is still there, and since it reopened following a spectacular renovation, visitors can even have something to eat. Located on the sixth floor, the Blue Box Café (a nod to the brand’s small turquoise-blue jewelry boxes) was entrusted to Daniel Boulud, one of the most famous French chefs in New York City.
However, you won’t be let in at dawn, as the restaurant and the store don’t open until 10 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. on Sundays. The menu features an aptly named “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for 58 dollars, which is more brunch than café-croissant. Expect a delightful rosette of pineapple and strawberries, a granola and raspberry parfait, three small pastries, a fruit juice cocktail, and – oh the sophistication! – a scrambled egg topped with caviar served in its shell. The menu also offers a range of dishes along with a selection of sandwiches and pastries for “Tea at Tiffany’s.”
“I was already working on events with Tiffany & Co. through my catering company Feast and Fêtes long before it joined LVMH,” says Daniel Boulud, whose group also supplied the cakes for a first, short-lived version of the café from 2017 to 2019. Following the French luxury giant’s takeover of the American jeweler in late 2020, Daniel Boulud was asked to oversee the entire restaurant. “The brief was to create an all-day café that opened and closed with the store, offering a full menu no matter when you visit,” says the restaurant owner. “The result is a chic yet relaxed menu with a touch of light-heartedness, originality, and whimsy.” Management of the kitchens was given to a young French chef, Raphaëlle Bergeon, who had previously worked with Boulud for events and private clients.
The café seats some fifty people including seven at the bar, along with a twelve-seat private lounge. Just like the rest of the building, the interior design was entrusted to a famous name behind other luxury houses, American architect Peter Marino, who has used liberal amounts of Tiffany’s iconic blue. However, there is also a touch of humor. An impressive suspended lighting feature made up of hundreds of jewelry boxes hangs from the ceiling, while the floor appears to be splashed with color, as though a child had dipped their fingers in a can of paint. Reservations have been hard to come by since the café opened on May 22, but you can always drop in unannounced. With a bit of luck – and patience – you might find a seat or two at the bar among an elegant, mostly female clientele.
As for chef Boulud, who has just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the restaurant that made him famous, Daniel, on the Upper East Side, he is continuing to expand his gourmet empire in New York City. This fall will see the reopening of Café Boulud, which has been closed since the pandemic, at a new address near Park Avenue. This will be followed by a 16,000-square-foot “French-style steakhouse” and market, set to open in the fall of 2024 in a new building currently under construction near the Flatiron Building. In the meantime, if you ever feel down, just think of what Holly Golightly would say: “What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s.”