Jonathan and Gabrielle Rubinstein’s regional specialty coffee powerhouse Joe Coffee Company continues its Manhattan dominance with the opening of an astounding tenth shop on the island this week, near New York University on East 8th Street between University Place and Broadway. This marks the twelfth total cafe for our friends & longtime partners at the successful family-run coffee micro-chain, which also has two stores in Philadelphia, PA.
This time around, the Joe team didn’t hire an architect. Instead they turned to their abundant in-house talent to set up the bright, sizable (for NYC) new shop. Scout Rose, Joe’s Visual and Branding Manager, was placed in charge of managing design at the new shop; this is the first Joe location Rose has composed from the ground up. “I think everyone was excited to see a departure from the dark, woodsy, deeply masculine aesthetic that you see so many places these days,” Rose told Sprudge. “I think it just feels light, airy and relaxing.”
Aaron Esposito, Joe’s operations manager, helped coordinate contracting needs, and both he and Rose assisted with installations and construction. Scout Rose’s personal handiwork can be seen above the pastry case in the form of two handmade poured-concrete pendant light fixtures. The woodwork and pastry case fabrication were handled by Joe go-to Chip McCloskey.
A bankruptcy-stricken chain pastry shop [Crumbs Bake Shop] that previously occupied the location already had some cafe-appropriate infrastructure in place, which helped make the build-out convenient and quick. And the bakery backbone of the space actually set Joe up for its next step: baking in-house. Store manager Craig Melillo, who came to Joe from his previous gig as George Howell’s NYC accounts manager, has a background in food service. He’ll be piloting the on-site baking program, and as of the shop’s opening you can sample his handiwork in the form of soft, rich salted chocolate chip cookies, served up warm. The shop will also offer NYC’s Bien Cuit, One Girl Cookie, and Watty & Meg food and pastry options currently found in other Joe locations, and plans to expand the in-house baking array very soon.
Situated near the NYU nexus of lower Manhattan where the Union Square, Greenwich Village and East Village meet, Joe East 8th Street adds another quality-focused option to a part of New York City that is frankly spoilt for choice. Starting at the East River in Alphabet City with a cup of coffee and moving west, a cafe crawler can walk a relatively straight line to the Hudson River and hit a dozen or more worthwhile spots along the way, without resorting to a single Nespresso pod palace for a bathroom break.
D. Robert Wolcheck is a Sprudge contributor based in New York City. Read more D. Robert Wolcheck on Sprudge.