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Dating App Bumble Extends Women-First Ethos to Its New Restaurant — With Male Chefs

After experimenting with pop-up cafes, Bumble Brew opens its first permanent location in Nolita

A sidewalk view of a restaurant with a yellow facade.
Bumble Brew opens to the public on October 21 in Nolita at 98 Kenmare Street.
Aaron Thompson

The opening of Bumble Brew, a restaurant and coffeehouse from the dating app, has had more plot twists than a rom-com. A one-day opening interrupted by a global pandemic. A comeback that included a $2.2 billion dollar IPO on February 10, 2021. And finally today, a second version of the restaurant designed to find a permanent home in New York City.

For its original opening last year, Bumble had hired a well-known chef with a proven track record in the neighborhood: Delicious Hospitality Group’s Ryan Hardy, the chef and co-owner of Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones. Its lease in Nolita at 98 Kenmare Street was set to begin on March 1, 2020. It turned out to be a disastrous date for the business. “We were open for one day as a coffee shop,” says Hardy. “We served one customer, literally.” Bumble Brew shut down the next day and remained so until now.

The latest version of the restaurant — the first permanent restaurant from the dating app since it has experimented with pop-ups across the country — will open with breakfast service starting on October 21, with lunch and dinner service to follow in November. Bumble Brew has a sunny yellow storefront and interiors that mirror the app’s branding, which also happens to be the same color scheme for the banquet and the cappuccino machines at Hardy’s other restaurants.

A bowl with yellow round ravioli-like pasta being garnished with herbs.
Casoncelli stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano, and pancetta.
Second to None NYC/Delicious Hospitality Group
A plate with a grilled mushroom atop a charred green tomato sauce with chiles and lime.
Mushrooms, charred green tomatoes, chile, and lime.
Second to None/Delicious Hospitality Group

Here, the vegetable-heavy menu has several Italian dishes, and will feature the same squid ink chitarra pasta that Hardy serves at Charlie Bird, as well as a dry-aged cheeseburger, morel mushroom omelettes, and a rotating roster of salads, with most items in the $20 range. They’ll serve pastries from Pain D’Avignon.

Similar to how the dating app works to put women first — it’s most famously known for only allowing women to initiate contact when there’s a match — the restaurant is working to emphasize women in various ways, including playlists that feature women artists, and partnerships with women-led companies. While the day-to-day operation will be overseen by Hardy and his right-hand team, chefs Dave Metz and Chris Roderick, for the launch, they are working to recruit more women for several positions at the restaurant, too. “We hope that the time that people spend at the restaurant will leave them feeling as they do while on the Bumble app: Welcome, respected, and included,” says Julia Smith, Bumble’s Head of Brand Partnerships.

A view of a restaurant dining room with yellow walls, two big windows, banquette seating, and tables with chairs.
There’s seating for nearly 80 indoors and additional seating outdoors at Bumble Brew.
Aaron Thompson

And starting next year, the restaurant will host a mix of social events at the 3,500-square-foot space, which has 80 seats indoors and an additional 24 seats outside. The social events will be the most prominent off-menu feature. Much like other female-friendly spaces around the city — like the Wing, the popular but recently shuttered women’s social club, or Atoms, the female co-founded NYC sneaker start-up that hosted events at its pop-up storefront, or the app’s own Bumble Hive speaker series — the programs here will include a smattering of standalone and ongoing events.

While Delicious Hospitality Group is no stranger to partnerships — the team worked with JetBlue on an in-flight menu in the past year — this is perhaps its biggest collaboration yet. It’s still to be seen how Bumble Brew will fare during an ongoing pandemic, but the cafe, like the app, was designed to bring people together in real life.

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