Covert Convenience

Recharge--or just relax--at The Smile

An armload of shopping bags and a grumbling stomach is a lethal combination, especially on the busy weekend streets of Soho and Nolita. But we've found a peaceful antidote in The Smile, a café and "mixed-use" concept store.

Tucked below street level in Noho, The Smile's owners have constructed an unconventional experience, combining luxury goods like Wool and the Gang knitwear, Laguiole cutlery, Moscot eyeglasses and Alice Chocolates, alongside a refreshing European-inspired menu.

Relax at one of the cozy, rustic tables for breakfast. Don't freak out when, a few hours later, you find yourself ordering lunch.

Chef Melia Marden puts her own fresh touch on classics like the juicy roast beef sandwich, smothered in delicious horseradish cream between slices of toasted sourdough ($11). Wash it down with the reviving basil-infused lemonade ($3.50). For a lighter option, try the smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters layered on top of multigrain bread with lemon-caper cream cheese ($11.50).

Finish off your rejuvenating afternoon with an espresso ($2.75) pulled from Gimme! Coffee beans in the vintage Faema E-61 espresso machine.

And if you really want to take the experience with you, stop by The Smile's tattoo parlor for something that will remain far beyond dinnertime.

The Smile, 26 Bond St. (between the Bowery and Lafayette St.); thesmilenyc.com