“THERE WAS NO PLACE TO GO FOR HEALTHY FOOD THAT DIDN’T FEEL GRANOLA-Y,” SAYS KYLE HOTCHKISS CARONE OF CAFE CLOVER & CLOVER GROCERY, THE CULT EATERY AND WELLNESS-CUM-FOOD EMPORIUM THAT INDUSTRY INSIDERS HAVE BEEN FLOCKING TO. “How do you go to dinner and have it still be elevated, cool and fun, but also be healthy?” Enter Cafe Clover– a fashion canteen whose menu reads one part health joint and one part power eatery from locally-sourced, plant-leaning eats including sprouted grain risotto to chickpea flour hush puppies to their covetable gluten-free seed crackers. Earlier this year, Carone opened the doors to Clover Grocery, a sleek jewel-box market selling specialty food and lifestyle items including adaptogens from Sun Potion, cult dusts from Moon Juice and house-made jams and maple syrup from Westwind Orchard. “There are beautiful stores and then there are crunchy health food stores,” muses Carone. “The question was, how could we combine the two.” We caught up with the 29-year-old dining impresario over iced matchas to talk purging refrigerators, cannabis-infused waters and the natural hangover remedy you need now.
Photos by Sasha Israel
How did opening Clover influence your own health game?
I had to deep dive into a whole world of health and wellness. There are products that people are obsessed with. I had to figure out what those were and understand why they were valuable and why they’re a good thing to integrate into your diet. It wasn’t my lifestyle, but I think there’s a point around my age, you start thinking about al of that.
How did you brief yourself in all things wellness?
I went around to every heath food store in New York, Paris, London and took pictures of things that I thought were interesting and I talked to friends that are in that world. It’s confusing because you look at the Sun Potion stuff and you’re like, “Which one do I need?? Moon Juice has been successful because they basically blended those things and made them more consumer friendly. We try to keep everything limited to the best in each category so if we have skincare, it’s one or two organic, natural skincare lines. If we have a probiotic, there’s only one. If you go to a health food store, it’s like what are all these probiotics?
What product are you excited about right now?
We just ordered an onion jam, and a relish from Blackberry Farm. It’s just about a beautifully made product that makes for a great gift for somebody or something you want to pop in your pantry.
Which specialty markets around the world inspire you?
Daylesford Organic in London and Pimlico in Notting Hill. La Maison Plisson in Paris is great. Colette has a very small food section. Forty Five Ten in Dallas has a small, curated selection of great foods.
What things have you been incorporating into your own life that are wellness forward?
I have definitely eliminated the white flour thing. I also swapped sweeteners for coconut sugar, date sugar and just got rid of the other stuff. I’m trying to find things that are low carb in general, which isn’t easy on the snack front. Right now I like the sauerkraut chips and cassava chips.
What’s in your fridge?
A lot of our pressed juices. My approach to my fridge is a little like my bathroom. When you’re in your twenties your bathroom is full of a bunch of little things from hotels that you stayed at and some Herbal Essences that you picked up at CVS because you were running out. It just isn’t nice. At a certain age, you’re like, I found my brand. I’m an Aesop person. I’m going to have just Aesop everything and it should be like a hotel, really beautiful. The kitchen and pantry is the next step of that. You look at a millennial’s refrigerator and it’s like an expired bottle of Tropicana. How can we clear that out so that your kitchen and your pantry are just as curated and beautiful as your bathroom has become?
What’s your current wellness favorite right now?
Right now I’m obsessed with this plant water, which is CBD-infused. There are all these things like matcha, iced coffee, and cold brew that give me energy and there’s no antidote to that. The CBD-infused water is a calming drink, so I take that every night before bed just to chill.
What supplements are you into right now?
STAMBA is a product that we carry and it’s great. You always read the articles that are like, “Here are the 15 superfoods you need to be eating,” but they’re not really easy to eat. You’re like, what do I do with bee pollen? So STAMBA took 15 great superfoods plus some Ayurvedic stuff and blended it into a powder.
What do you do that with?
I just mix it into water. I take that in the morning and I do the marine collagen, which mostly everybody’s obsessed with. It sells out here in like a minute. We get it in and it’s gone by the end of the week. I also do the Moon Juice Dream Dust before I sleep as well. I take WelleCo does this thing called the Super Elixir that comes in this really beautiful bottle and that’s my daily greens. I take a lot of supplements. Torii Labs makes those little tonics which have different uses. There’s one with MCT. So I’ve just been experimenting with those.
What do you have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I eat at Clover mostly if I’m eating food and not like a smoothie. Usually I’d start here with a berry smoothie, which we put supplements in. So I do that in the morning. Then I walk over to Café Clover and I have a veggie burger, which is amazing. It’s a mushroom, vegan burger. At night, I probably eat at Clover again. That would be quinoa tagliatelle or a cheeseburger.
How would you describe the Clover Grocery customer?
I see myself as the target demo. It’s also lots of neighborhood people that want to do one-stop shopping. Here you can buy your skincare, your produce, your flowers, your Sun Potion and Moon Juice and get it done.
Has your interest in clean living trickled down to your grooming routine?
I was never a big skincare person so I had to ask all my girlfriends. We carry True Botanical and Linné. I started with Linné. It’s really simple for me because there’s a system of how to apply. I’ve become a face oil person.
What’s your favorite face oil?
I use the face oil from True Botanicals and the mist and the serum from Linné. We don’t carry the full fleet from any one of those. We have the honey mask from Earth Tu Face and Agent Nateur deodorant. And I love the Bamford hand wash.
What about self care?
I get massages on 8th street. I play tennis and I swim. I don’t go to the gym. I can get a little weird. I have a healer who’s amazing. She’s an NYU-trained psychoanalyst but you go for an hour of therapy and then the next thirty minutes you’re on the table and you go to energy healing. Her name is Barbara and she’s in Brooklyn. She’s big on meditation. She was an addictions specialist and she’s very good with alcohol and drugs. There’s definitely a sobriety moment happening.
What is your meditation routine?
I meditate before bed with the app that everyone else uses, Headspace. I need to have a lot of sleep. If I’m taking all of these great things for my body, then I don’t want to undo it by not sleeping or stress.
If you do have a crazy night, how do you balance it?
Hydration and watermelon juice. I think the crazy nights can be more under control based on the other things I do. I haven’t been able to properly party because I’m too conscious now. And it’s nice that I can come here for any hangover needs.
What’s the best hangover remedy?
You can have Prickly Pear juice before you drink. Prickly pear extract is in a lot of those really commercial hangover things, but we carry one that isolates the extract from a cactus ranch in Arizona. It sells very well. It’s a good little gift for your drunk friend.