Dimes, the all-day café, bar, and market founded by Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner in downtown Manhattan, has always done things a bit differently. Here, De Sousa tells us about their new cookbook, Dimes Times: Emotional Eating (Karma Books)—which she says is the first in a series of more publications to come.
Dimes is a café, but more than that, it’s a total vibe—and you also work on fun side projects. How did the idea for it all first begin?
Alissa and I are from a restaurant background—she was working as a chef, and I was working front of house—but we met many, many years ago, before that, working together at a place in Nolita called Lovely Day. The one thing that I always took from Lovely Day was the sense of community and friendship that emanated from there. We were thinking about opening something together and had many conversations about it. At first, the idea was to do a juice bar, but then grew from there. It kind of happened organically. I would say the reason we even wanted to do this, for the most part, is that there wasn’t anywhere in the city that was offering vegetable-forward, fresh, seasonal food. Farm-to-table had existed for a while, of course, and there were places like Angelica Kitchen, with seventies, hippie kind of crunchy food—which I love so much—but at the time, there wasn’t really a more modern and casual take on that.
Emotional Eating is such a fun twist on the typical cookbook. Was it always in the cards to come out with one?
We were approached about doing a cookbook early on, from year one. At the time, we held off on that idea—we felt like we didn’t yet have a story to tell, and if we were going to do something, it had to be right. But we would think about it every now and then, and it became a thing that incubated between Alissa and me. I sat down with a close friend of ours, Cynthia Leung, just sharing our love for books—we were talking a lot about children’s book design, and we kind of shared the same aesthetic—and she said, “Well, why don’t we just make a cookbook, but a different kind of cookbook?” It made sense: The world doesn’t need another regular cookbook. I obviously love to collect cookbooks, so I’m not trying to fault them, but I felt like if we were going to do something, it’d have to go against the grain a bit. That conversation started in 2016 or 2017, and it took a long while for us to really figure out the voice of the book, and the actual narrative of it. It really worked so beautifully in the end, because everyone that was a part of the creation of the book is a regular at Dimes.
What inspired you to organize the book by times of day?
The hardest part for us was figuring out the organization, part of the recipes, and where they would all fit. We were really answering questions along the way—we weren't like, “This is how it's going to be.” There are two voices in the book: the first voice is us, the restaurant, and the second is the reader, and they revolve around the day in the life of Dimes—that’s structured from the hours of the restaurant. We open at 8 a.m. and close at 11, with an in-between closing, from 4 to 5, which is noted in the book with this funny little relief of 4:20. [Laughs] Each section cycles through the time of day and the dishes we make, and the thing I love about those sections is that you’re getting all five senses in the copy and the way the words interact with the overall design.
Dimes has such a distinct aesthetic. What role does design play for you?
Design, for us, plays a huge role. We were very careful with all of the pieces that we chose when we were building out the space. Mostly, because it was my chance to really have fun with something that I love, and having a blank canvas to do it. That extended to the website, our fonts, the postcards, and everything else—it was really a chance to have fun, to build the brand but also not limit it to just the food. It’s a sensory kind of feeling when you come into Dimes. For me, at least, it’s important to just not be stuck in the monotony or operational side of running a restaurant, and to also have these creative outlets.
Are you cooking up any other side projects at the moment?
The book is part of a series, so we’ll probably be working on the next book. It’s whatever we want it to be. The weirder, the better, in a way. We haven’t really finalized what the next one will entail. We’ve also talked about maybe opening up another space, but we’ll see. It’s hard to imagine another space, because I just love the little community of people that we have here now.
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Ghetto Gastro, the Bronx-based culinary collective working at the intersection of design, art, and social justice, has cooked up a taCRUXGG, includes a range of everyday appliances—a blender, a coffee maker, a toaster oven, an air fryer, and more—with matte-bEp. 2 of our Time Sensitive podcast), have released a rotating double waffle maker, which promises to yield perfectly browned, crisped edges, nooks, and crannies. True to Ghetto Gastro’s mission to igniKnow Your Rights Camp, a campaign founded by athlete-activist Colin Kaepernick. Consider the cookware, designed to be left out on the kitchen
Aishwarya Iyer never thought she would found an olive oil company. At least her background in start-ups and venture capi So Iyer decided to make her own, and launched Brightland in 2018. Using olives from a family-run farm on California’s central coast, the Los Angeles–based company makes extra-v
Sichuan cuisine, named for the subtropical province of China where it originates from, is characterized by a diversity omálà (a portmanteau meaning “numbing and spicy”), is marked by deep and pungent, peppery notes that you not only taste but fethe U.S. considered Sichuan peppercorns to be contraband; nowadays, you can find the little pink orbs in trendy cocktails that play on its citrus and camphor-like aromas. As thThe Mala Market, an online purveyor that stocks top-grade ingredients directly from Sichuan province. Here, in one fell swoop, you can blog of recipes to kick-start your culinary adventures.
Chefs and restaurant owners everywhere have had to rethink their business models this year, as social distancing and new
Several months into the pandemic, the restaurant industry remains among the hardest hit in the U.S., with scant evidenceparticularly those run by BIPOC entrepreneurs, who have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus-related losses—their fates lie directly in continuing sales. Eat Okra app, founded by New York couple Anthony and Janique Edwards in 2016, which gives a boost of visibility to Black-owned b
The 20th-century futurist, theorist, inventor, and architect R. Buckminster Fuller was a tireless visionary and radical thinker who wrote dozens of books and proposed theoretical designs advocating for Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining, a collection of recipes and anecdotes originally compiled by Fuller’s friends as a surprise gift for his 86th birthday
Tamy Rofe, a sommelier who owns Brooklyn’s farm-to-table-y Latin American restaurant Colonia Verde with her husband, Felipe Donnelly, operates by a matra borrowed from her mother: “La comida compartida sabe mejor.” In English, it means, “Food tastes better when shared.” From the eatery’s lived-in aesthetic to its signature Sunday general store,” selling and even delivering nearly every ingredient on its menu alongside prepared meals and grill boxes—a way for Co
Lexie Smith is an artist and baker, though it’s only relatively recently, after years of working in restaurant kitchens and balanciBread on Earth. Her work often takes on various forms, from performance and installation to photography, writing, and publishing, all
After years in various kitchens, working his way up from dishwasher to cook, and ultimately chef de partie at Eleven Madison Park, Matt Jozwiak left the fine-dining world behind in 2017 to start Rethink Food NYC, a nonprofit organization that partners with restaurants and grocery stores to reduce excess food and make nutritious, Ghetto Gastro and Jozwiak’s former boss, chef Daniel Humm—as collaborators in its mission to fight food insecurity and foster a more
Extolled by New York City’s finest restaurants, from Daniel to Eleven Madison Park and abcV, as well as a growing coteriDavocadoguy, is seemingly everyone’s go-to guy for the best avocados. He keeps his supply consistently stocked and perfectly ripene