You, too, can make like Hep­burn and ex­pe­ri­ence break­fast at Tif­fany’s on Fifth Av­enue

Calgary Herald - - TRAVEL - ME­GAN McDONOUGH

In the 1961 film Break­fast at Tif­fany ’s, Au­drey Hep­burn’s char­ac­ter Holly Golightly muses that a visit to the jew­eller’s Fifth Av­enue flag­ship store “calms me down right away. The quiet­ness and the proud look of it.”

She also says, in th­ese lines also found in Tru­man Capote’s novella of the same name, that “noth­ing very bad could hap­pen to you there.” Turns out Golightly was right. I dis­cov­ered this first-hand when I in­ad­ver­tently knocked over a piece of Tif­fany china dur­ing a visit to the Blue Box Cafe, the lux­ury re­tailer’s first din­ing ven­ture lo­cated on the fourth floor of the famed lo­ca­tion.

The crash was nei­ther quiet nor proud. I was mor­ti­fied and I know my mid­dle school self — who cov­eted Tif­fany ’s chunky ster­ling-sil­ver jewelry be­yond any school crush — would have been, too.

But in­stead of a proper scold­ing, my waiter non­cha­lantly whisked the bro­ken crock­ery away. “It hap­pens more of­ten than you’d think,” he said.

His gaze shifted to an­other diner, who was strug­gling to hoist his heavy dig­i­tal cam­era over his US$70 Tif­fany blue din­ner plate.

He looked back at me and smiled: “Just don’t let it ruin your ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The con­cept of Break­fast at Tif­fany’s has changed dra­mat­i­cally since Golightly’s tran­quil 5 a.m. stroll down Fifth Av­enue in her sleeve­less black dress. Now, in­stead of pa­per cof­fee cups and curb­side pas­tries, mod­ern-day Go­lightlys can in­dulge their rich fan­tasies with a three-course break­fast in­side the store.

Vis­it­ing the seem­ingly built-for-In­sta­gram restau­rant — which opened to fan­fare in No­vem­ber of last year — has be­come a bucket-list item for for­eign tourists, film fans and even New York­ers.

The photo-friendly spot, out­fit­ted

en­tirely in the brand’s sig­na­ture robin’s egg blue and white, was re­port­edly de­signed with the in­ten­tion of hav­ing guests feel like jewels nes­tled in one of Tif­fany’s trade­mark boxes: a reser­va­tion at the com­pact cafe, which seats only 40 peo­ple, has be­come as de­sir­able as one of the jew­eller’s heart-tag charm bracelets.

Dur­ing a quick trip to the Big Ap­ple in May, I was lucky enough to snag a last-minute week­day lunch reser­va­tion on­line.

I ar­rived early to get the lay of the land and, in the spirit of Golightly, al­low ex­tra time for win­dow shop­ping. Vis­i­tors must nav­i­gate the store’s bustling first floor to reach the el­e­va­tors lead­ing to the cafe, which are manned by white-gloved at­ten­dants.

En route, I stopped to gawk at a whop­ping 128.54-carat yel­low di­a­mond. (By com­par­i­son, the fa­mous blue Hope Di­a­mond is just over 45 carats.) I then made my lux­u­ri­ous as­cent to the fourth floor, where the cafe is perched at the end of the home and ac­ces­sories depart­ment.

Noth­ing makes a per­son feel more cog­nizant of their in­come — or lack thereof — than pass­ing by a US$125 dog bowl and a US$400 teddy bear.

At the host’s stand, I re­ceived the royal treat­ment and was whisked to a two-top ta­ble fac­ing Cen­tral Park’s Grand Army Plaza. Many restau­rant guests had dressed for the posh oc­ca­sion in fancy fas­ci­na­tors and black cock­tail dresses.

One group of women, clad head to toe in blue, even bragged to their waiter that they’d got­ten match­ing teal mani-pedis the night be­fore.

From the walls to the slip­cov­ered chairs and leather-bound booths, the space was a ver­i­ta­ble sea of Tif­fany blue.

The menu was full of trendy Amer­i­can fare (av­o­cado toast) with buzzy New York monikers (the Fifth Av­enue salad with Maine lob­ster and grape­fruit). And though I ar­rived at noon, I or­dered break­fast, which is served all day. The deca­dent meal in­cluded a sea­sonal fruit plate with edi­ble flow­ers and pre-peeled grapes; a minia­ture crois­sant with three spreads (Nutella, but­ter and jam); and my choice of one of four en­trees.

While the food could coast on the Tif­fany name and nos­tal­gia alone, the cafe de­liv­ers in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion and flavour.

De­spite the quiet and proud bones of this place, it is still sus­cep­ti­ble to en­thu­si­as­tic selfie seek­ers who want to pre­serve — and, per­haps more im­por­tant, share — their fine mem­o­ries of this spe­cial place. I guess ev­ery­one channels Golightly ’s spirit in their own way.


The Blue Box Cafe break­fast in­cludes a choice of cof­fee or tea with sea­sonal fruit and a crois­sant with honey but­ter, Nutella and fruit pre­serves. Guests also have the choice of a smoked salmon and bagel stack, cod­dled egg, av­o­cado toast or a but­ter­milk waf­fle for the en­tree.

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