If you’ve ever seen the 1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn, you likely already know what the Blue Box Café is, and what it means. Located within the prestigious Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, the elegant café recently reopened its doors after closing its doors in 2019.
For the reopening this year, Tiffany & Co. knew it needed to bring in a similarly iconic chef to manage the reopening of the restaurant, so they enlisted the expertise of one of New York’s most celebrated French chefs, Daniel Boulud (Restaurant Daniel, Le Pavillon, Bar Boulud, and Boulud Sud).
Since the reopening, it seems like everyone is eager to have their own breakfast at Tiffany’s, too. Securing a table at the Blue Box Café can feel like an impossible feat. Fear not — that’s where we come in. We sat down with Blue Box Café general manager Valentin Bouchet to get the inside scoop on how to get in, and what to order once you finally score your coveted spot.
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Resy: How many seats are there at Blue Box Café?
Bouchet: We have 55 seats in the main dining room, 12 seats in the private dining room and in addition to these, seven seats available at the bar.
When do reservations drop on Resy?
Thirty days out every day at midnight. We do an initial release, open a few tables for the public, and as we get closer to the date, about two days out, we release more tables.
How quickly do seats get booked up?
Almost instantly, within a few minutes — it’s quite impressive.
When are the busiest times?
Breakfast and lunch are our busiest times: it’s fully booked, every table is busy from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; that would be our prime time. Meaning that if we get a cancellation, we can immediately sit a walk-in.
When is the least busy time to visit?
Weekends are always busy, but during the week around 5 p.m. tends to be our slower time. Depending on the day, we could have availability for walk-ins.
We have the same opening hours as the Tiffany’s store, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. — 8 p.m. is a hard close — everyone has to be outside of the store — so our last reservation sits between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. to have plenty of time to enjoy the full experience.
What You Need to Know
Plan Ahead: Reservations drop 30 days out at midnight.
The Layout: There are 55 seats divided into 18 tables in the main dining room, a private dining room that can accommodate up to 12 guests, and a seven-seat bar that is only reserved for walk-ins.
Walk On In: Get in line before it opens at 10 a.m. to maximize your chances of getting a table, as they always reserve six tables in the morning for walk-ins. Or try the bar, which is always first come, first served.
Prime Time: Breakfast and lunch services are usually full and packed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Must-Orders: The afternoon tea is a treat you won’t find at chef Daniel Boulud’s other restaurants. At Blue Box Café, it’s served on a classic silver tiered stand and paired with your selection of Bellocq tea, carefully curated by tea sommelier Gabrielle Jammal. Another plus of having afternoon tea? You’ll get to enjoy a quieter restaurant during the afternoon, as it tends to be less busy than it is during breakfast and lunch.
Do you hold any seats for walk-ins?
We always keep six tables available for walk-ins at the beginning of our service — five deuces and one four-top. A lot of guests line up outside the door at 10 a.m. and we want to make sure that we’re able to accommodate them. Throughout the day, we have about two tables available for walk-ins per seating.
What time do you recommend stopping by to score a walk-in table?
It really depends on the day. On weekends, we get a lot of requests. For the dining room, the best time is in the morning; the first six tables always get into the restaurant. After that, people get added into the waitlist and we give them an appropriate estimated time for when they will get seated. It’ll usually be up to an hour-and-a-half, sometimes longer, depending on how many guests showed up in the morning. Throughout the day, people will continue to be added to the waitlist. Some guests don’t mind waiting an hour-and-a-half, browsing and shopping inside the store, while some others will prefer to go directly to the bar when it’s available. Our bar is first come, first served, and has seven seats — you get the full menu plus bar bites.
What’s the typical wait time for a walk-in?
Between an hour and an hour-and-a-half is the usual wait time. After that, some guests tend to not come back. Obviously, we have to honor reservations throughout the day, but we do our best to give priority to people who were here first on the wait list.
How long is your Notify list on Resy?
Our Notify seems to be maxed out! It’s been at 500 tables, and I haven’t seen it go higher than that. That’s about 1,300 covers daily on the Notify. Two days out, we open reservations online to fill in any cancellations or any last-minute adjustments we need to do in our books. These go directly to our Notify list, and they get booked pretty much instantaneously.
If someone were to set a Notify for Blue Box Café on Resy, is there a time of day they’d most likely be able to get a reservation?
We usually open the books two days out around 4 p.m. Sometimes, we’ll release 10 tables, sometimes, it’s three tables; it depends on how full we are. Obviously, we want to set aside some tables for walk-ins so we don’t pack the books completely, but we try to make sure we’re busy enough. Like I mentioned earlier, the 4 to 5 p.m. window tends to be a little slower, so sometimes we’ll release more reservations during that time.
Are there any tips or tricks you would recommend for getting a table?
Absolutely. First one: Be patient, the demand is absolutely impressive. Obviously, we’re still in the first few weeks of our opening. [Blue Box Café officially opened on May 22nd.] Add yourself to the Notify list; you’ll get priority whenever we release tables online. But also, come in and add yourself to the wait list. The Landmark is a beautiful building to visit, there’s a lot to look at. The bar is definitely a sure option as it’s first come, first served, so it has a faster turnaround.
In your opinion, what’s the best seat in the house?
I really enjoy the bar, because of the comfort and lightness of the space. It’s beautiful and offers a very nice view. As for the tables, we have one table in particular that has a view of the entire dining room — which was designed by Peter Marino — as well as a view of Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza.
Do you host private events?
We do, in our private dining room that fits comfortably up to 12 guests. Our events manager handles the reservations. We offer three options for private dining, depending on the number of guests and their budget: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” afternoon tea, and a curated three-to-five course tasting menu. We’ve already hosted everything from baby showers to bridal showers, communions, birthdays, or just families who want to spend time together. It falls perfectly within the scope of the Tiffany & Co. brand; it’s about cherishing moments with your loved ones. Dining here is a memorable experience for a lot of guests.
What are your favorite offerings on the menu and any must-orders?
I would really recommend the afternoon tea service. It comes on a gorgeous silver tiered stand with tea sandwiches, mini pastries, cookies, and freshly baked scones. The chefs have done a wonderful job curating this offer. It’s served with a selection of Bellocq tea, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Gabrielle Jammal is our tea sommelier; she’s been in the industry for quite some time and has helped launch several afternoon tea services, including the one at the Baccarat hotel. She’s been a tremendous support in developing this menu and making sure we complement the teas with the flavors of the offerings. You get a selection of tea to choose from: black teas, green teas, white teas, herbal teas, we even have a children’s tea.
One of my favorite tea sandwiches is this chicken curry and mango sandwich that is paired with an herbal tea — Gabrielle goes into great detail about pairings. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with her. We also have Champagnes to go with the afternoon tea as well.
From the à la carte menu, the lobster salad (homard au bleu) is a unique creation: it’s naturally colored Tiffany blue lobster gelée, red cabbage slaw, and a poached lobster tail on top. We also offer a caviar service, in that same silver presentation — a really nice combo with a glass of Ruinart [Champagne]! Our executive chef Raphaëlle Bergeon works very closely with chef Daniel [Boulud] and our corporate chefs to improve the menu every day; we have very high standards.
Wonderful. Can you set the scene for us during breakfast at Blue Box Café? What kind of music is playing?
We play a good mix of indie and modern pop at the café. Since the building opens at 10 a.m., right before that, everything is calm while everyone is doing final touches, making sure they’re ready for the morning rush. Around 9:50 a.m. our host makes her way downstairs to the entrance on 57th Street and this is where we’ll welcome people for the first six tables and add guests to the waitlist. As soon as the store opens, our first elevator of guests arrives on the sixth floor. That’s around 10:02 a.m. The ballet begins, guests are seated and by 10:15 a.m., the café is full. You can barely hear any music anymore.
We have a mix of tourists, New Yorkers, Tiffany’s clientele indulging and conversing. Everything changes in the short span of 15 minutes, as soon as the store opens; the atmosphere becomes completely different. Guests tend to order experience items, like the breakfast that is served on tiered platters and it’s very nice to observe.
Are there any interesting facts we should know about the café’s location at Tiffany’s?
The architect Peter Marino and his team designed the café. When you look at the space, it puts you in a certain mood of indulgence and luxury. The design team really gave life to the vision that Tiffany & Co. and chef Daniel both have. The Bernardaud plateware [a porcelain maker from Limoges, France] and the Riedel glassware we use are exclusive collaborations that Peter Marino’s team did. The silverware is from Tiffany & Co. We also have artwork around the dining room by Molly Hatch that we commissioned. For our wines, we worked with LVMH but we also feature smaller producers, covering both Old World and New World wines, and we have a great Champagne list.
This location is different from the other restaurants that chef Daniel operates. Usually, for a restaurant, you’ll come in from the sidewalk and you’ll get walk-ins from the street. Here, we are located inside a store, so you get people with reservations, but also shoppers. When you arrive on the sixth floor, you’re in the home department of Tiffany & Co. with beautiful tableware and as you soon as you walk in, you see Peter Marino’s design, including the collaborations on our tableware. A lot of guests want to buy our china, but unfortunately, it’s exclusive to the restaurant.
Who’s dining at the Blue Box Café?
Our clientele is a mix of both Tiffany and Daniel Boulud fans. Tiffany & Co. is an iconic brand and chef Daniel is also an iconic New York chef. Being in the Tiffany building, clients carry a sense of luxury. We see tourists who come from all over the world. Perhaps they don’t know the chef, but we also have a lot of New Yorkers who know that it’s a Daniel Boulud restaurant and are excited to visit the Landmark building.
Have you had any celebrity sightings?
With LVMH and their place in the luxury world, we do have high-profile guests that join us. Meeting Roger Federer was definitely a highlight for me. I grew up playing tennis and have played tennis throughout my life; meeting him in person was really fun.
How do you feel now that you’ve been open for a few weeks?
The demand has been absolutely crazy compared to what we were expecting. Guest feedback has been great. It’s wonderful to know that people want to dine with us and are having a good time.
Blue Box Café is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Coralie Kwok is a French-born writer and hospitality professional. She’s always on the quest for the best baguette.