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Market Basket: Espresso and Shirts

Lugo, a boutique in Manhattan’s NoLIta neighborhood known for its Italian-made shirts, has set up a Midtown outpost.

Shirts are on the menu at Lugo Caffe.

ESPRESSO AND SHIRTS: Lugo, a boutique in Manhattan’s NoLIta neighborhood known for its Italian-made shirts, has set up a Midtown outpost. Lugo Caffe is located at 1 Penn Plaza. In addition to well-tailored shirts, which are sold via a computer kiosk, the new 4,000-square-foot eatery, which opened last month, serves Italian comfort food and cocktails.

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Despite a built-in customer base in the 2.5 million square feet of office space in 1 Penn Plaza, Lugo co-owner John Meadow is aiming to attract more fashion types. “I know we’ll always make money with the business types, but our biggest goal is to attract [people from] the Garment Center,” he said, adding that Lugo Caffe strives to recapture Italy’s storied cafe culture. “There really aren’t many places in New York where people are reading the paper, drinking a Pellegrino and having a coffee.”

Aside from tucking into Roman artichokes, patrons can buy women’s and men’s shirts — most of which retail for $175. The spring collection of women’s shirts will consist of 10 styles. The inclusion of artichokes on the menu is a veiled form of branding, since the motif is used throughout the cafe and is also used for Lugo’s logo. Naturally, the waitstaff wear Lugo shirts, too.

To try to woo more fashion types, the company recruited DJ Felix Cutillo, who developed the playlist for Bergdorf Goodman, to make one for the cafe.