The first thing you might notice upon walking into Tory Burch’s new flagship store in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood—besides the leather bags, snakeskin loafers, and mixed-print ensembles on offer—is a cluster of woven baskets hanging from the ceiling. The baskets, along with the rest of the décor inside 151 Mercer Street, represent a nod to the designer’s upbringing in Pennsylvania, and her love of interior design; in her childhood home, woven baskets hung from her kitchen ceiling. Despite growing up in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania—an idyllic forested village in the state’s southeast region—the designer is a New Yorker through and through. She’s always had a love for downtown, having moved to the neighborhood immediately after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. And in 2004, Burch opened a SoHo shop on Elizabeth Street which converted to a Tory Sport-only location, then closed in 2016. Now, the designer has come back to her old stomping grounds, which she has made into something of a home for herself.
In celebration of her downtown return, Burch shares her picks for the best spots to eat, drink, and shop in and around SoHo. Think of it as the designer’s chic guide to the area, for both locals and tourists.
1. International Center of Photography
79 Essex Street
An exhibit of well-known and new artists who capture the cultural zeitgeist.
2. Bon Bon
130 Allen Street
Mixes of red licorice and sours from this Swedish candy shop make great presents.
430 Lafayette Street
Basquiat and Warhol ate here. Indochine is known for its palm leaf wallpaper, and beloved (especially by the fashion crowd) for its glamorous atmosphere and French-Vietnamese menu.
4. New Museum
A constant source of new art and new ideas—and a favorite NYC museum that focuses on contemporary art.
5. Café Habana
17 Prince Street
Burch calls this “one of the best Cuban restaurants anywhere,” adding that Café Habana was a work lunch and dinner go-to when she was launching the company in the early aughts.
6. McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
A favorite of Kaia Gerber’s (who called McNally Jackson’s location on Prince Street “my quiet place, my still place and my home away from home,”) the indie bookseller is a top pick for Tory Burch, as well.
7. Sant Ambroeus
265 Lafayette Street
Burch likens the atmosphere and food at this upscale Italian restaurant to “like being transported to a Milanese café.” She suggests the burrata with confit onions and carrots.
8. Donald Judd Foundation
101 Spring Street
The preserved loft of the 1960s minimalist sculptor features a permanent exhibition of the midcentury artists he collected.
9. Fanelli Café
94 Prince Street
If you’ve gone to SoHo’s Broadway shopping hub, you’ve likely seen the red Fanelli Café sign blinking from Prince and Mercer Streets. Opened in 1847 and converted into a speakeasy in 1922 by the Fanelli family, this restaurant still maintains an old-world appeal.
10. Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston Street
“The rumble of passing subways below during movies is part of its charm,” Burch says of the theater synonymous with arthouse films.
11. Mercer Street Books and Records
206 Mercer Street
This center for New York City’s musical and written history sells rare and out-of-print titles, as well as new authors and artists.
88 West Houston Street
The ice cream flavors at Morgenstern’s taste as good as their names sound. Burch recommends the pistachio pesto, burnt sage, and lavender agave—and the Sundae Bar, which she hits on Friday nights.
13. Thompson Alchemists
132 Thompson Street
You never know what you’ll find in this old-fashioned pharmacy, but you’ll always leave with a basket full of goodies.
14. Omen Azen
113 Thompson Street
A low-key meeting place for local artists and musicians since 1971, owned by a former Buddhist monk.
160 Prince Street
This 100-year-old bakery is known for its authentic Italian flavors.
16. Emily Thompson Florist
53 Howard Street
Thompson uses unexpected flora and fauna—like kale rosettes and black radishes—to shake up the notion of classic arrangements.
145 West Broadway
This bistro is located around the corner from Burch’s first apartment in New York City. She described it as a “cafeteria meeting spot” for her friends. “The Bloody Mary is still as spicy as ever,” she adds.