When your pitaya bowl is the *exact* color of the shop’s tiled wall grout, you know no detail was spared in the design process. And at Loco Coco in New York’s Upper East Side, every piece of the design was put in place for maximum island oasis vibes. From the neon signs to the carefree menu design—a simple wooden board with minimalist letters—to the super fresh vegan acai and pitaya bowls, Loco Coco totally transports you.
Inspired by a family vacation, Max Alcobi, Loco’s owner, realized pitaya (also known as dragon fruit, which is a superfood rich in magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants) had yet to become popular in New York. “From there, it all took off, and I began my journey to establish Loco Coco,” says Alcobi. A few months into the shop’s opening, it has already established itself as the NY destination for superfood smoothies and unique smoothie bowls.
We sat down with Alcobi to talk more about small spaces, his inspiration and the one design element that took months.
What do you want people to feel when walking in?
I want them to feel like they are on the island of Manhattan. We want the energy to promote positivity so our customers feel that they are doing something good (and healthy!) for themselves while also treating themselves.
I hear the expansion in the ceiling was very purposeful, tell us about the design choice.
The wooden menu is normcore cool, what was the inspiration?
The pops of neon in the space are too fun.
Neon is a great vintage-y design accessory to any space. I think it brings so many retro and fun vibes to Loco Coco while obviously adding to that Instagram factor!
Tell us about the perfectly colored pitaya grout in the tiled walls.
For the design of our store, we wanted our product to be reflected everywhere. During inception and design we really wanted to give the space a very clean and ‘fresh’ look. Once the white tiles were in place, we felt that some color was necessary. We tried to match as closely as we could to the pitaya color in the O.G. L.C. bowl (with pitaya, banana, coconut, and almond milk). The actual process of learning how to color the grout, and arrive at the correct color took more than a month. We ended up using acrylic paint dye and beet reduction water (Yes, actual beets!) to mix with the powdered white grout.