This winter, if you see a vibrant woman full of energy, with glowing skin, strolling through the East Village sipping a steaming, hot beverage, it may not be coffee. It could be grass-fed beef broth, made with bones and infused with ginger.
On Monday, renowned chef and Hearth owner Marco Canora introduced Brodo, New York City’s first take-out window devoted to sippable broths—and he’s betting on the fact that people will be intrigued by both the health benefits and the taste. “I want to create a new hot beverage—a whole new category,” he says.
He might be on to something. In the wellness world, at least, bone broth is having a serious moment. More and more health coaches, nutritionists, and beauty gurus are recommending it for its many benefits, from boosting gut health and fighting inflammation to providing a dose nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, amino acids, and collagen. Food pioneer Sally Fallon Morell’s lastest book is called Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World and trendy London health company Hemsley + Hemsley makes cheeky totes that say “Boil Your Bones.”
Canora is in tune to all of this, but his love for broth has deeper roots. “I grew up in an Italian household, and brodo is something you have at all the holidays,” he says. “Every Christmas dinner, every Easter dinner, they start with broth.” Not to mention its broader history. “I love that it’s been around forever and there are proverbs from South America that say a good broth can revive the dead,” he says.
At Hearth, he’s been making what he calls Easter broth (now called “Hearth Broth”) for more than ten years, boiling two whole turkeys, 40 pounds of beef shin, and 15 stewing hens in a massive stock pot in the basement and using it as a base for lots of dishes on the menu.
“Every time I walk in the door, if the Hearth Broth is on the stove, I get myself a cup or bowl, I pour myself some, I season it, and I sip on it, and I’ve been doing this forever,” he says. Even more so since he visited a nutritionist two years ago and decided to totally revamp his eating habits for better health. (His next book, out December 30, is called A Good Food Day: Reboot Your Health with Food that Tastes Great.)
At Brodo, which is just a tiny window on First Avenue, around the corner from Hearth’s entrance on Twelfth Street, Canora is currently offering three broths: Grass-Fed Beef (infused with ginger), Organic Chicken, and the Hearth Broth, all of which are served in small ($4), medium ($5.50), or large ($6.75) coffee cups, just like your Starbucks order. And you can choose from add-ins that boost both flavor and nutrition, like fermented beet kvass, spicy Calabrian chili oil, and fresh grated turmeric. He says he’ll add a vegetarian broth next, made with veggies, seaweed, and dried mushrooms, and possibly a seafood broth later, and he’s experimenting with other add-ins like parsnip juice and coconut milk. When he discusses the endless possibilities, you can feel the excitement in his voice and expressions.
“I want people with coffee cups and sip lids to be walking down the street sipping on broth—not coffee, not tea, not Gatorade,” Canora says, “because of all of these reasons, and also because it’s f*cking delicious. There’s something so satisfying about sipping a hot cup of broth that I feel we all need so badly in our lives.” —Lisa Elaine Held
Brodo (at Hearth), 403 E. 12th St., window on First Ave., East Village, @brodonyc