Local Coffee aims to become the focal point of coffee lovers in Montclair.
Robert Genovese, the owner of Montclair’s newest coffee shop, Local Coffee, is no stranger to the hospitality business. Robert’s family has owned a restaurant in New York City for over 60 years, which has left him with invaluable experience and nuance in the way of serving up what a community wants.
Genovese was first interested in the coffee industry about 10 years ago. From there, he immersed himself in the culture of coffee. “I took masters classes, traveled to Costa Rica, Portugal, Portland. I completely dove into coffee culture. I wanted to know each and every part of the process – roasting, brewing, farming.”
As his interest grew, a plan formed in Genovese’s head for a coffee shop in central Montclair. Having lived in Montclair for years, he knew that Montclair lacked a reliable, quality coffee shop that was conveniently located. Genovese let his interest grow, and bought a professional quality coffee brewer. From here, he says, he could finally tweak his own craft. He experimented with coffee in his Montclair home, making it that tiny bit sweeter, or perhaps more bitter, or darker. All the while, he kept his eye on the corner of Watchung Plaza, where he envisioned his dream to be actualized.
“I always felt like Watchung was the center of town. Bloomfield Ave is a bit too metropolitan, and doesn’t represent much of the suburban qualities that we enjoy in Upper Montclair. I knew this was the spot I wanted.”
Finally, the corner opened and the opportunity presented itself. On February 2nd, 2017, Genovese and his wife, Adele, opened Local Coffee in Montclair.
For Local Coffee, Genovese partnered with Irving Farm, an innovator in the New York City coffee scene since the 90’s. Genovese explained that his decision on who he would get his coffee from was not primarily based on the quality of the coffee.
“Irving Farm are great coffee roasters because they care about the craft and they care about coffee. They also pay their farmers very well, and make sure that they do their part to support the industry from a respectable place.”
One of the most unique facets of the business is the design. The aesthetic is purposeful and serene, with a rustic tinge to it. The coffee shop is clean, almost meticulously so, which helps create a modern sheen that keeps the store bright and pleasant to be in. The shop was designed by a local architecture and design firm, MADLAB.
Genovese says that they also wanted to support the community and involve his business in it. In an effort to do this, they have made sure that each month, a different local artist is able to display their artwork in Local Coffee. To match the sleek store, Local Coffee’s website is gorgeous and easy to manage. On this website, Robert runs a blog, that he consistently uses to interview and promote the local artists he employs among other individuals from the Montclair area.
Local Coffee seems to have stuck a rock in the rotating door that was the Watchung corner, where businesses seemed to move out as soon as they moved in. As for Genovese’s, though, their effort and passion to bring good coffee to Montclair are being noticed and praised.
Local Coffee is located at 107 Watchung Avenue in Montclair. You can contact Local at 917-406-0464.
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