Besties :: Marissa and Katie

By Jenn Rose Smith

It’s a small world sometimes — when we reached out to our friend Katie Crown at ELLE Magazine to talk about being part of our Besties series, we were surprised and delighted to learn that her best friend is Marissa Lippert, a New York nutritionist (and now restauranteur) whose work we’ve admired for years. We spent an afternoon with these two business-minded besties at Marissa’s gorgeous new West Village café, Nourish Kitchen + Table, to learn about a big city friendship that’s blossomed through a shared love of good food, good wine, and the occasional night in.

photographed by belathée photography

What’s your friendship story? We want the dish!

Marissa: We met three years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Italian place downtown. (Who doesn’t love a British accent, particularly when pasta and wine are involved?) From there I have no idea how our friendship became so strong over just a few months… but it did. The best things happen when you’re half-oblivious, right?! Katie moved just four blocks from me about six months after we first met. We’ve been each others’ urban family ever since.

Katie: She turned up on moving day to help me unpack, bringing along much needed refreshments. Right from the get go she was supportive and thoughtful. Since then our friendship has become stronger and stronger. Being from London, it’s so amazing to have a family away from home and Marissa — along with her cat, Coco — have become like sisters to my husband, Joe and me.

It must be handy to have your best friend living just up the block!

Katie: Yes, Marissa has a terrible habit of locking herself out or loosing her keys at all hours of the day and night, so it’s a good thing I live so close. On one occasion she turned up at my door at 7.30 am, with a towel on her head and slippers she had borrowed from the local laundrette to get her spare keys. It seems she locked herself out taking the trash out while she was barefoot!

That’s hilarious. When you’re not locked out of the house, how do you two typically like to spend time together?

Marissa: You’ll find us either on Katie’s far-too-comfortable couch, or my breezy balcony with wine in hand and the grill going, or out at a restaurant in our neighborhood, or heading upstate for a weekend with friends.  What do we talk about… food, travel, men, our jobs, food again!

Katie: We also love to explore and try the new amazing restaurants in NYC. I’m sure my wedding has monopolized a lot of our conversation the last four months, but we’re lucky to have each other as a sounding board for everything including our jobs, loves, inspirations and worries.

Katie, tell us a bit about your position at ELLE Magazine. What do you love about what you do?

I’m the Director of Special Events for ELLE. I’m really lucky to do a job I love, for a such an incredible brand. Throughout the year I work on a large spectrum of events from Award ceremonies, intimate dinners, fashion shows to live concert events, ensuring every day is different. My work is a balance between creativity and producing which keeps things interesting and it’s so great to work with so many fantastic brand partners, too.

Marissa, how would you describe Katie’s style?

Katie loves a good heel.  She’s always chic and put together with a touch of bohemian flower girl thrown in there.  And she rocks wavy golden long locks like no one else…

No kidding. Katie, we want your hair! Any styling tips or secrets you’d be willing to share with us?

Thank you so much. It’s pretty well behaved but I have a few secret weapons that help me:  my amazing hairdresser Annessa at Headdress in the East Village, Shu Uemura Essence Absolue and the Beachwaver by Sarahpotempa — a curling iron that has literally changed my life.

What are the shared values and interests that your friendship is built on?

Katie: Both Marissa and I can be pretty focused and dedicated when it comes to our work. We’re both fighters and in my mothers words we keep our “gloves up”. But we both enjoy the finer things in life, most importantly good friends and loved ones with great food and wine.

Marissa: Determination. Just “being there” …whether it’s at sunrise or at 3am. Placing great importance around family and friends. Loving a good night in on the couch as much as a super late evening out on the town… attempting to find the silver lining in nearly every situation.

Katie, how would you describe Marissa’s style?

Marissa’s style is like a great cocktail.  A blend of classic staples meets romantic touches and a dash of rock and roll.

Marissa, tell us about your restaurant and what you do there:

I’m a nutritionist and the owner of Nourish Kitchen + Table, a café and takeaway food shop in the West Village. I love watching people become connected to the food they’re eating. There’s an amazing, inexplicable relationship that develops when you feed someone.  Nourish aims to bridge the gap between healthy eating and gorgeous, delicious food. I’m lucky enough to have my hands in many pots — from interacting with our customers, local purveyors, farmers and my staff to creating new menu items, putting together catering events, private dinners, cooking classes, brand partnerships and more.

This looks delish! Is it on the menu at Nourish?

Marissa: Yes, it’s a seasonal summer crostini with heirloom tomatoes, grilled peaches, pickled red onion, basil, Pecorino Romano cheese and a touch of grilled jalapeño. We’ll often feature specials like this on the menu based on what’s fresh from the greenmarket and what’s inspiring.

Katie, what’s your favorite thing on the menu at Nourish?

I love their Rise & Shine Smoothie for a healthy breakfast on the run and of course you can not beat their detox kale salad with watermelon radish, apples and almonds.

How does your bestie inspire you?

Marissa: Katie is unbelievable to watch in action. She is a ball of 5’1″ fire in 4 inch heels. She means business and will execute everything she does with grace, care and exceptional heart. She’s sensitive but stern, particularly when it comes to those she loves the most. She’s a fighter and takes life’s challenges head on and as her Mama Crown says, with her “gloves up”.

Katie: Marissa is a force to be reckoned with — when she puts her mind to something she makes it happen. Watching her put together Nourish Kitchen & Table was a real inspiration. She took everything in her stride from the business planning stages through to the design and now running an incredible and delicious restaurant every day with the never ending to do list she has.

Marissa, we’re curious, how do you source ingredients in Manhattan?

We source our ingredients from various local farms and the Union Square green market and Lancaster farm cooperative. (And small purveyors like Saxelby Cheesemongers, Narragansett Creamery, Sullivan Street Bakery to name a few.) We like to stay as local, seasonal and artisanal as possible. I love walking through the market and seeing what fruit and vegetables are at their peak — that will often dictate and inspire our menu.

Do you produce all the items on your menu?

We make all our menu items (aside from our bread) in house — including our fresh-pressed juices. This one is called “Lv Potion No. 9” and is made with beets, orange, lemon and rosewater. It’s one of my favorite combos and will flush out toxins from your liver in a flash. Beets in general are fab for a quick, reviving “detox”.

We love the look and design of the restaurant. Katie, did you lend any advice or help in Marissa’s design process?

The Nourish branding and décor is so true to Marissa’s personal style and taste, she had the concept and feel in mind for years. She worked with an amazing architect (Lan My Do) and contractor (Anthony Malat) to create the perfect vibe. I was just there to offer my opinions on things like the right blue for the walls and what music to have on the playlists.

How do you see each other in ten years?

Katie: I see Marissa with a chain of Nourish Kitchen + Tables and a thriving catering company, enjoying weekends upstate with her loved ones.

Marissa: Katie will likely be at the helm of her own incredibly successful event planning and branding firm while raising a family with her wonderful husband Joe and yes, — weekending with me (and hopefully my own family!) somewhere upstate!

Here’s wishing you many wonderful upstate weekends together! Thanks so much, ladies, for inviting us to over to Nourish and giving us a peek into your special bond.