As a band set up to play a show at Eat Records the other night, the smell of roasting pork drifted through the shop. At this new antique-album-dealer-cum-café tucked into a tiny storefront on Meserole Avenue, you can expand your vinyl collection while polishing off a bowl of chard-anointed pasta.
The front door is held open by an out-of-commission RCA cable, looped around the doorknob and tied to a radiator, and somehow the whole operation seems to rely on such old-new relationships and inventive repurposing. A friend fashioned the light fixtures from colanders, tin cans and an industrial-sized mayonnaise jar that illuminates the front window; another friend baked the spicy-sweet-with-just-enough-salt ginger cookies in the jar on the coffee counter. The milk in the coffee, and for sale in glass quarts, hails from the upstate farm of owner Jordan Colón’s old friend, and the vegetables filling salads, sandwiches and pastas also arrive from Empire-state pastures, grown by a former neighbor turned farmer. A culinarily inclined comrade helped Colón butcher the whole side of pastured park he recently bought from Arcadian Pastures Farm. The loin was served roasted alongside arugula and mustard greens; other menu options included a tuna melt and a salad with aged Vermont goat cheese and the year’s first strawberries.
Buddies Doug Pressman and Casey Block curate the records while Colón looks after the grub. “We try not to keep it too niche,” he says, running fingers through his mass of tightly spiraled hair. “Cafés can be so cold, there’s a social element here. The space is meant to crowd strangers in together.” And it does: hipsters at communal seating, inside or at the long tables and benches out back, can discuss Michael Jackson over a BYO bottle.
On a recent Monday morning, Bruce Springsteen gazed plaintively from the cover of Darkness on the Edge of Town straight at Ornette Coleman, rocking a sax solo on the cover of Town Hall 1962 across the way. Sure, record stores can seem intimidatingly cool, but a plate of roast pork with a pile of fresh greens is the great equalizer.
Editor’s note: Eat Records is now closed.