Europe on Hudson Street
Cafe Panino Mucho Gusto
I’ve never been to Italy, but on days when the temperature dips below 30º and New York seems a little too gray, I like to picture what it’s like. I imagine every street to be lined with tiny cafés, each filled with locals eating delicious food on smooth wooden tables. Maybe there are some vintage travel posters alongside massive windows, spotted with the silhouettes of people sipping coffee and watching the world go by.
Or maybe I’m just thinking of Café Panino Mucho Gusto in the West Village. Featuring all of the above and more, this spot has become my real-life European café nestled neatly into Hudson Street.
Time seems to pass differently in this hole-in-the-wall lunch joint. Step inside and order from a long menu of delicious-sounding food: grab a panini, salad, bagel, coffee… the list goes on and on. While you wait, take your pick of the family-style dining table, a cushioned window seat, or a tiny round table—each prettier than the last. The setup is remarkably comfortable and cozy for such a tiny space; I’ve never been unable to find a seat, though I’d suggest going slightly after the typical lunch rush hours to avoid potential crowds.
Regardless of where you sit, locals will buzz past on their way to order, chatting warmly with the people behind the counter like old friends. There’s no single thing that they order, either—I watched countless people stop in for pastries, wraps, lunchtime beers, specialty iced teas, and soups— and that was only in the ten minutes I was there.
Knowing that, Cafe Panino Mucho Gusto is definitely a place to visit more than once. With such a rich menu, you’ll have to stop by multiple times to find your go-to order.