At this restaurant in the New York borough of Brooklyn, the avocado reigns supreme. All the dishes at Avocaderia come with generous helpings of the green fruit, which is imported from Michoacán. This Mexican state accounts for four-fifths of the national avocado production, and the United States is the main importer. Consumption of the fruit has grown exponentially in America in recent years, and Avocadería’s founders – three Italians in their 20s – have tapped into that.
Avocadería touts itself as “the world’s first avocado bar.” One of the founders, Francesco Brachetti, said in a telephone conversation with Verne that their goal was to incorporate elements of the three cultures involved. They called their place a bar because that is what Italians call the establishments where they eat croissants and drink capuccinos. Being in New York, they used the English term avocado (which in Spanish would be aguacate), then gave it a Spanish-sounding ending, ería.
By far the most popular items on the menu are the savory toasts topped with a combination of avocado and other ingredients. And of course there is the go-to classic, guacamole.
Brachetti got the idea for this project soon after moving to Mexico City in 2014 to work for the fashion industry. He soon began consuming avocado, which is a staple ingredient of the Mexican diet, and quickly became a fan.
“Eating it comes very naturally to Mexicans, but in Italy it is not very common and the quality is low,” he explains.
He enlisted Alessandro Biggi, who was already living in Brooklyn at the time and was familiar with the local market, to help develop the concept. And the chef Alberto Gramigni designed a menu meant to be “healthy and tasty” at the same time.
According to The Washington Post, “sales of Hass avocados, which make up more than 95% of all avocados consumed in the United States, soared to a record of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion avocados) last year, more than double the amount consumed in 2005, and nearly four times as many sold in 2000.”
In short, avocados are all the rage in America, and Brachetti knows it.
“We are not trying to promote them, because they promotes themselves: everyone loves them,” he says. “But we do want to convey the fact that besides being delicious, they are also a pretty healthy food.”
Their webpage includes a section explaining the health benefits of eating this fruit, with information drawn from the magazine Love One Today.
Despite fluctuations in the price of avocados, the restaurant tries to keep prices constant. Brachetti says that prices are at their highest right now, “between $70 and $90 for a box of 26 pounds [11.8 kilograms].”
Avocaderia is located inside the food hall at Industry City, a complex of warehouses located on the waterfront. “There are a lot of offices for creative types, media firms, artists and decorators,” notes Brachetti. These young workers make up the bulk of their clientèle, because, he says, they share their own ideals of a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to them, the three Italians are reaching one of the goals that they had set for themselves: to offer healthy food in the land of cheeseburgers.
English version by Susana Urra.