Wind the clock back to when you were in middle school – gawky, idealistic and most likely a little out of place. Now imagine you young self being told that one day everything would be amazing. That in the blink of an eye you would be running a super cool store in New York City. A warm eclectic space – the precise point where art and fashion cross paths. Not just a shop but also a gallery, selling a clever mix of vintage and designer finds… and hosting the odd erotic reading. Imagine your face when you tell yourself you’ll be compared to the likes of Opening Ceremony, praised by fashion blogs across the city. To top it off, you will be working alongside two of your best friends, knocking back as many artisanal coffees and delicate pastries as your heart rate allows.
This might sound like a dream to you and I, but for 20-somethings artist Olivia Wolfe (and her partner Steph Krasnoff), this is reality. After growing up together in Miami, the two parted ways for college, before ending up back together in New York. They pioneered American Two Shot – a new boutique in Soho – after noticing a lack of options for young designers and artists to have their work seen. “For them, it was basically Etsy or Barney’s,” says Wolfe. Harnessing the caffeinated brilliance of their friend César Vega, American Two Shot also houses its very own coffee bar, Café Integral, serving exceptional farm-to-table Nicaraguan brews. Just shy of their third birthday, Supper sat down with Wolfe, to chat all things American Two Shot and cool places to wine and dine in her adopted hood.
How have you found the transition from art to fashion?
I’m a painter mostly and I had this freak out that I was kind of hanging up my hat as an artist when I chose to open American Two Shot. It sounds so cheesy to say, but this is just a different canvas. I am challenged enormously creatively everyday. It’s fun and cool and challenging…. And fun. Steph nor I feel like we singularly work in fashion. It’s kind of this weird place…
Like a collective?
Yes! Which we love! I really like when I overhear people describing what it is, because they all say something different and I like that. We aren’t saying ‘this is what American Two Shot is;’ it’s whatever you want it to be. It’s a coffee place, a clothing store and we have art events. I think my favorite event of the year – which we do every Valentines Day – is we have an erotic reading hosted by Adult Magazine. This year we had two people acting out a scene of Harry Met Sally and it was hysterical.
This space is amazing. Was it designed with those kind of events in mind?
Well everything in the store moves around, or at least can be moved – it’ll feel different every time you come in. We have two wooden platforms that go together and can make a stage for a music performance. People are always like ‘oh my god, is this your first store?’ And we’re like ‘yes, clearly.’
This is the best almond cappuccino of my life. How much do you love having Café Integral on site?
Aside from proximity I just love that their beans are hand selected and roasted. All of the baristas are really friendly too! I also love that I have a coffee named after me…. It’s amazing to see it’s growth – I’m like a weird proud mum. Because he (Vega) is maybe the single hardest worker I have met in my entire life. Definitely top five anyway.
It’s sort of hard to pinpoint exactly what American Two Shot is. But at Supper, we are all about the vibe. How would you describe yours?
It’s a mutli-vibes store. It’s very, ‘you do you,’ here. Whatever vibe you’re looking for, we probably have it….available in all sizes. But I guess it’s eclectic. It’s way more about style than fashion necessarily, and I hope there is a bit of humor in it. I mean it’s not a circus, but it should be fun to come in. We got really sick of the fashion attitude.
How important is the coffee bar, and your day to day playlists, in creating your overall atmosphere?
It’s huge! There was a time in the winter when the coffee bar was closed on Sundays – and it felt so different in here! There are locals that come in every single day for coffee, so we have a real sense of neighborhood. Having Café Integral in here means there is always some sort of buzz going on in here. As for music, come in here on different days and you’ll hear something different. It might be really intense rap one day, and then pop the next.
Speaking of that neighborhood sense, what are some of your favorite spots nearby to grab a drink or a bite?
Hm, definitely Sweetgreen. I went to school with all these guys and I watched their company grow from like a tiny store to what it is now. I love that it’s actually a really big business now, but it still feels small. Baz Bagel just down the street from us which is awesome! We actually had our third birthday party there! We order from Siggys Good Food everyday and it’s fucking awesome. It’s clean food, but they have something for everyone. Café Clover is my new favorite restaurant as of now. It’s like really, really healthy delicious food, but it has more of a nighttime drinks/dinner/date vibe. Nancy Whiskey Bar has a really tiny upstairs where you kind of have to duck and the roof is all like tinfoil. It’s just a really fun weird vibe. And Lovely Day is the summary of vibes. It has really good food, amazing drinks and really cute guys, just always good everything. It’s the cutest place in the world and a total neighborhood spot.
By Ali Francis. For Supper.