Thank you to Jitters Café in North Chili, NY!

Sometimes I forgot that it really is a small world after all. For example, recently, I was tasked with writing a paper for my Food Purchasing, Storage and Handling class, in which I was to interview the manager of a local food establishment.  Specifically, I needed to ask that person about the details of the purchasing function at their food service operation.  I cringed at the thought of walking into a restaurant off the street and asking to speak with the manager about a school project – who has time to talk to some unknown student? So, I decided to ask around in my network of friends and associates.

One of the first persons I asked is my friend and massage therapist, Heather Collins, LMT of Free Spirit Massage in the town of Greece, NY.  She is a trusted friend and a skilled and thoughtful massage therapist as well – I highly recommend her!

12038327_10153792622159728_1192582462227958933_nHeather immediately thought of her friend and former manager, Michelle McElwain of Jitters Cafe in North Chili, NY. Heather offered to make the introductions, and I gratefully accepted.  Soon afterward, I had an appointment to speak with Michelle at Jitters Cafe at 4357 Buffalo Road, about their purchasing processes.  I am so glad that it really is a small world after all! You never know who people in your network might know – you just have to ask.

20160324_172910

I appreciate that Michelle took time out of her busy schedule to meet with me.  She really was quite gracious in answering my 20+ questions about vendor selections, make-vs.-buy decisions, the ordering and receiving process, vendor relations and purchasing follow-up.  We sat comfortably at a table in the cozy café and chatted for about an hour, while enjoying tasty beverages. I especially enjoyed my iced chai tea – it was a refreshing treat. Thank you Michelle, for your time and consideration in agreeing to be interviewed for this paper!


 

You’ll be glad you stopped into Jitter Café In addition to their extensive beverage offerings, they also offer hot sandwiches, deli sandwiches, wraps (including veggie options), salads, breakfast sandwiches and bagels, and baked goods.  Their beverage offerings are extensive, including: lattes, milkshakes, hot and cold chai, hot and cold coffee, cappuccino, Italian soda, and iced and hot tea. Don’t forget about their own coffee, which is ground and brewed on site. There is something for everyone at Jitters Café.

Interested in checking out Jitters Cafe? Here are the details:

Jitters Cafe
4357 Buffalo Road
Rochester, NY 14514
(585) 594-3922
Hours of operation:
• Mon-Fri: 6:30 am – 9:00 pm
• Saturday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
• Sunday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Meals Served: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee and other beverages.
Sit down or take out.

Thanks again, Michelle!

***

 

Restaurant Review: Union Place Coffee Roasters (Rochester, NY)

Union Place Coffee Roasters logo

What do greyhounds, coffee beans and a popcorn maker all have in common? I found all of them at the Union Place Coffee Roasters Open House Coffee Roast in April, 2015!

Union Place Coffee Roasters is a boutique, artisan coffee roasting house dedicated to the art of roasting only 100% Arabica coffee beans in small batches daily, to provide consistency and freshness, as well as a great coffee drinking experience. By keeping detailed notes for each hands-on roast, they can consistently duplicate desired batches and deliver perfectly roasted fresh coffee.

They are also dedicated to sourcing coffee beans from respected, socially responsible importers who emphasize fairness and equality, and work directly with the farmers in the Central and South American regions.

Surroundings

As we drove up to the entrance of Union Place Coffee Roasters in the Genesee Valley Regional Market (Rochester, NY), I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is located in a secluded corner of the market, surrounded by the rear entrances of other establishments. The area has a hip, warehouse district vibe.

On this warm Spring evening, they propped open their entrance door and raised their garage door, inviting visitors to enjoy a refreshing cross breeze in the retail area.

Community Support

Greyhound Adoption Sign, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

During the evening open house, Union Place Coffee Roasters promoted their charity of the month – The 4 Walls Project. The project is dedicated to helping change the lives of families in the rural town of El Sauce, Nicaragua. In fact, a local contingent has a trip planned there in May, 2015, to celebrate the building of their 100th house. Learn more about The 4 Walls Project and how you can help by visiting their website.

In addition, they were hosting visitors from Greyhound Adoption of Rochester, NY.  I couldn’t help but stop to pet the beautiful and sweet greyhounds; they really stole my heart. This organization is a non-profit, volunteer initiative. Their goal is to place retired racing greyhounds into loving families.  Visit their website to find out more about Greyhound Adoption of Rochester, NY.

Two greyhounds from Greyhound Adoption of Rochester, NY, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
“Lilly” and “Emma” – two greyhounds from Greyhound Adoption of Rochester, NY, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
"Victoria" - a greyhound from Greyhound Adoption of Western, NY, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
“Victoria” – a greyhound from Greyhound Adoption of Rochester, NY, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Atmosphere

I really liked the casual and inviting atmosphere at Union Place Coffee Roasters. As I entered the store, I first noticed the black and white checker patterned floor – it really popped. Also, i liked the framed coffee sacks on the walls.  The high ceiling with exposed piping added to the chic warehouse feel.

The center island of coffee bean dispensers made for an easy traffic flow, while an arrangement of a few chairs and a table in one corner invited guests to stay for a bit and visit. I wonder though, if more seating would promote longer stays (and increase sales).

Union Place Coffee Roast View from Front Entrance, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Union Place Coffee Roasters View from Front Entrance, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Union Place Coffee Roasters Front Counter, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Union Place Coffee Roasters Front Counter, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

Saying on side wall of front counter at Untion Place Coffee Roasters, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Saying on side wall of front counter at Untion Place Coffee Roasters, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

I liked that the expansive front counter is large enough to accommodate guests waiting for their coffee, as well as those browsing the retail displays. A friendly message awaits each customer on the wall next to the front counter (see photo above).

The Coffee

The selection of coffee beans at Union Place Coffee Roasters is quite impressive. Shown below are just a sampling of the varieties available for bulk purchase:

Brazilian Full City Roast Coffee Beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Brazilian Full City Roast Coffee Beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Colombian Decaffeinated Beans for sale, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Colombian Decaffeinated Coffee Beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maidstone Breakfast Blend Beans for sale, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maidstone Breakfast Blend Coffee Beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Nicaraguan Manuel Lopez Beans for sale, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Nicaraguan Manuel Lopez Coffee Beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to bulk coffee beans, they also offer packaged coffee beans, teas and a few accompaniments. Their attractive product displays invite shoppers to take a closer look.

Display of packaged coffee beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Display of packaged coffee beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Display of packaged coffee beans, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Display of packaged coffee beans and teas, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Display of packages of coffee beans and teas, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Display of packages of coffee beans and teas, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

Roasting Coffee in a Popcorn Maker

Konga Natural Beans Used in Popcorn Popper Roasting Demonstration, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Konga Natural Beans Used in Popcorn Popper Roasting Demonstration, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Yes, it’s true. You can actually roast coffee beans in a popcorn maker!  Coffee conneisseur Jonathan Dubner demonstrated how easy it is to roast coffee at home, using a hot air popper. He showed the crowd how to roast two African coffees – one from Kenya and the other from Ethiopa. I happily sampled the Kenyan coffee and found it to have a depth of flavor which I haven’t tasted in other coffees.

Washed Coffee Beans (left) versus Naturally Dried Coffee Beans (right), Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Washed Coffee Beans (left) versus Naturally Dried Coffee Beans (right), Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Jonathan explained that you should use an air popper in which the air circulates around the popper, rather than just from the bottom, to ensure even roasting. He also explained that you can use either naturally dried beans or washed beans, but that dried beans usually deliver the best roasting results in the air popper.

Roasting Coffee Beans in an Air Pop Popcorn Popper, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Roasting Coffee Beans in an Air Pop Popcorn Popper, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

To roast coffee beans in an air popper, simply place the beans in the popper where you would normally place the popcorn kernels. Do not add any oil or butter.

The heat of the air popper will cause the beans to have a “first crack” at approximately 380 degrees, resulting in the husk separating from the bean. The husk is then expelled via the popper.

You can stop the roasting process there, or you can continue to roast the beans until they go through a “second crack” or longer. The longer you roast them, the stronger your coffee will be.

Coffee Beans Roasted in a Popcorn Maker, Ready for Gridning and Brewing, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Coffee Beans Roasted in a Popcorn Maker, Ready for Grinding and Brewing, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

When you are done popping, use a sieve or cheesecloth the separate the removed husks from the beans. The result will be roasted coffee beans which are ready to be ground and then brewed.

What a cool demonstration. I would recommend it if you are interested in the art of coffee roasting!

 

For these demonstrations, Jonathan used a French coffee press for brewing the coffee. This method does not use a paper filter, therefore leaving a higher concentration of oils in the cup. Also, it allows for more flexibility in the flavor development, such that you can steep it quickly for a lighter brew or allow it to steep longer for a richer, bolder flavor.

For more information on home coffee roasting, visits Sweet Maria’s website. Jonathan recommended this website for anyone interested in roasting coffee at home or indulging in other coffee adventures.

“Small Batch” Coffee Processing

During the open house, owner Laurie DiProspero delighted the crowd with a demonstration of her Dedrich coffee grinder. Although this is considered “small batch” coffee processing, don’t be fooled – there are a lot of beans in that machine. However, not so many that it is a large-scale manufacturing operation. We were lucky enough to get up close to it to see it swirling the beans around, which was quite impressive.

Deddrich Coffee Grinder in Action at Union Place Coffee Roasters, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Dedrich Coffee Grinder in Action at Union Place Coffee Roasters, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Coffee Beans  Ready for Grinding, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Coffee Beans Ready for Grinding, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Manuel Lopez Nicaraguan Coffee Package, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Manuel Lopez Nicaraguan Coffee Package, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

On this day, Laurie was packaging Manuel Lopez Nicaraguan coffee. It is an organically grown, direct trade coffee.

According to the package, it is a “City Roast, Balanced, Light Bodied, Pleasant Acidity, Hint of Chocolate and Molasses with Fruit and Floral Notes” coffee.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

I noticed the following label on the back of the package:

“Enlace Project Donation – $1 of your purchase is donated to the Enlace Project. Promoting economic development of small communities to stimulate business growth through training and education to support economic stability in the El Sauce, Nicaraguan region.”

I just love the community activist point of view at Union Place Coffee Roasters!

Service

The service at Union Place Coffee Roasters was friendly and efficient. In fact, all the staff were extraordinarily friendly, down to earth and easy to talk to.  They welcomed us upon our arrival, offered us coffee samples and indulged our many questions about coffee roasting, grinding and brewing. Even the other patrons were polite and friendly, like we were all long-time friends.  The crowd and the staff were refreshingly warm and receptive.

Overall Impression

I truly enjoyed my visit to Union Place Coffee Roasters. Not only did I learn a lot about coffee roasting, grinding and brewing, but I also feel like I made some new friends. Although they have been in business at this location for about 2 years, this is the first that I have heard of them.  I will be sure to go back though, because I really enjoyed the people and the coffee. Stop by and say hello, pick up a cup of coffee to go, or stay for a bit. I know you’ll go back again soon.

If You Go:

Union Place Coffee Roasters
Genesee Valley Regional Market
900 Jefferson Road, Building 15 Suite 1504
Rochester, NY 14623 
Phone:        (585) 784-0404
Website:     http://unionplacecoffeeroasters.com/
Email:        laurie@unionplacecoffeeroasters.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Union-Place-Coffee-Roasters/654381654588465
Twitter:     @UnionPlaceCoffe

Details:
Business Hours:            Mon-Wed and Fri: 9am – 5pm, Thurs: 9am – 6pm, Sat: 9 am-3 pm, Sun: closed
Cuisine:                       Coffeehouse, retail and wholesale
Meals Served:              Coffee, Tea
Children’s Menu:           No
Accepts Credit Cards:    Yes
Handicap Accessible:     Yes
Attire:                          Casual
Requires Reservations:  No
Table Service:              No – counter service
Take Out:                    Yes
Outdoor Seating:          No
Parking:                      Free and plentiful in lot
Valet Service:              No
Bar Seating:                No
Alcohol:                      No
Coat Check:                No
Date opened:              Spring, 2013
Date visited:               Thursday, April 30th evening Open House

 ***

 

 

Restaurant Review: Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn (Angelica, NY)

maple tree inn

Since 1963, Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn has served home-made buckwheat pancakes with 100% maple syrup to hungry patrons. After suffering through not one, but two, fires, the family persevered. They rebuilt their sugar shack into a thriving restaurant where they serve their buckwheat pancakes and sell their maple syrup to the public. A few modern conveniences have improved and quickened the syrup production process, but the end product is just as authentic as it was all those years ago.

About a 1 1/2 hour drive from Rochester, NY, Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn is located in the small town of Angelica, NY. Don’t blink, because you might miss it. And you don’t want to miss it. Oh, and bring cash, because they don’t take any other form of payment.

Surroundings

Maple Tree Inn Exterior, Courtesy: Maple Tree Inn Facebook page
Maple Tree Inn Exterior, Courtesy: Maple Tree Inn Facebook page

It didn’t help that the temperature hovered around 17F on the Sunday afternoon we decided to make the trek out for pancakes to the Maple Tree Inn . With four of us in the car, the hour and a half drive didn’t seem too long. I had heard stories of people walking a long way just to get to the inn, as parking was said to be so overcrowded. However, I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to walk far at all. Sharon parked the car on the side of the road, a few hundred feet from the Inn entrance.  We made our way up the road and got into line.

The line moved very slowly. For the first half hour, Barb, Mary, Sharon and I stood on the dirt and stone driveway, and then later on concrete, exposed to the elements in the outdoor line. We passed the time by chatting with fellow pancake warriors. But soon the cold was almost unbearable. Eventually we made our way to the “enclosed” section of the line, which consisted of wooden beams wrapped with plastic sheeting, enough to keep out the wind, but also the sun. Finally, we got inside! We waited another 20 minutes or so until we were finally seated. Over an hour is unfair amount of time to wait for pancakes, regardless of how wonderful they may be. HINT: visit during the week when the line is close to non-existent.

Atmosphere

Maple Tree Inn Exterior, Courtesu: Maple Tree In Facebook page
Maple Tree Inn Interior, Courtesy: Maple Tree In Facebook page

Think log cabin on steroids. Fashioned with walls of polished wood, the Maple Tree Inn was definitely inspired by a log cabin design.  Wall decorations reminisced of a simpler way of life, in a simpler time…possibly when there was no heat? I was happy to see that there were modern bathroom facilities with running water and that the inn was wired with electricity.  Seriously, I didn’t know what to expect, so I was excited for little victories.

Waiting in line for our table seemed a bit like a frontier cattle drive. The hostess only wanted to know how many people in each party – no names. We jostled for position, holding our ground. When we made it to the front of the line, behind a party of 6 or so, she called “four” and we strutted past the larger group as if we had accomplished some great feat – our table was now ready – step aside. I felt a rush of hot air hit my face as we entered the dining room – no lack of heat here. The hostess led us to the back of the dining room, to a cozy table and chairs by a window. Hey, this was prime seating space. Nice.

Once seated, there was no foolin’ around. The waitress lingered as we quickly looked at the menu and placed our orders. There was little time to read the back of the paper place mat, to find out about the history of the place.

Menu

The menu at Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn is simple.  That’s good because your brain may be too frozen to think after waiting in line outside in the tundra.

You can have pancakes, eggs, more pancakes, ham, more pancakes, sausage patties or….well, pancakes.  You see, the pancakes are available with unlimited refills. Yes, your read that correctly – unlimited refills. To make things easy, there are a few combinations to choose from:

  • Buckwheat pancakes, a sausage patty, and a slice of ham – $7.55.  (Add two eggs for and additional .80 cents).
  • Buckwheat pancakes with two sausage patties (or two slices of ham) and scrambled eggs – $8.40
  • Buckwheat pancakes with two sausage patties (or two sliced of ham) – $7.65
  • Buckwheat pancakes with two scrambled eggs – $7.30

If you aren’t in the mood for pancakes (then why are you here?), try a burger, sausage burger, maple dog or a ham sandwich. Sides of sausage, eggs, ham, toast, and applesauce are also available.

You can also order off the children’s menu for kids under 12.  Children under 2 years old get pancakes for free.

Desserts ($3-$4) feature a variety of maple desserts, including cheesecake, sundaes, ice cream, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and more. Thirsty? Choose from the standard array of beverages including coffee, tea, iced tea, milkshakes, juice, milk and soda. However, the maple tea (hot) or maple milkshake (cold) might just melt your maple cravings.

Food

Each of us ordered pancakes, but with different sides. One ordered them with sausage and eggs, one with eggs and toast, one with no side. I ordered them with eggs and ham.

Never having eaten buckwheat pancakes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. They were light and airy and remarkably thin, more like a crêpe. I couldn’t help but notice a smokey flavor in the pancakes, although none of my table mates made mention of it.  My first serving included two large pancakes, two scrambled eggs and two large slices of ham. I rounded out my order with a glass of refreshingly tart cranberry juice.

Maple Tree Inn buckwheat pancakes with scrambled eggs and sliced ham, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn buckwheat pancakes with scrambled eggs and sliced ham, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

The eggs were tasty and cooked well. I had asked for them to be cooked “scrambled hard.” I got the distinct impression that the eggs were scrambled however they were scrambled, and that was that – deal with it.  I got this impression first from the waitress’ shrug upon hearing my order and that we received our food within about 45 seconds of placing our order – really, I’m not kidding. Obviously, the kitchen staff has the food ready to go. There really would be no other way to serve the huge number of people in this dining room so quickly.

The ham was tasty, not too salty.  I was pleased with the large serving size of the ham. Unfortunately, the all-you-can-eat aspect of this meal applied to the pancakes only. I would have liked another slice of ham, but no worries, the endless trail of pancakes made up for it.

Our server brought more pancakes before we were even half way through our first dish. They were served on a plate, covered with another plate, and placed in the center of the table, family style. We took one or two, and then yet another plate of pancakes was delivered and placed ON TOP of the first plate of pancakes. This made me a little nervous because we should be eating the pancakes on the bottom first. At one point, there were three plates of pancakes stacked in the middle of the table! Ahhhgggghhhh! It was like an episode of I love Lucy, except that there was no “OFF” button to stop the conveyor belt!

Maple Tree Inn buckwheat pancakes all you can eat. Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn buckwheat pancakes all you can eat. Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

We made short work of the bottle of home-made maple syrup on the table. It definitely made the pancakes slide down more easily. And, since the waitress had apparently been distracted by pancake fever and forgot to bring my cranberry juice refill, I certainly needed help getting those pancakes down.

One of my lunch companions tried the Maple Tea which she said had a maple taste to it, but not anything unexpected.

Store

As we practically rolled out of the dining room, overfull with pancakes, we came upon the tiny nook of a retail area near the cash register.  It was just enough to make me want to stop and see what they had to offer. It was chock full of buckwheat flour, a large variety of maple syrup, t-shirts, pens and other fun mementos.

Maple Tree Inn Maple Syrup for purchase, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Maple Syrup for purchase, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Buckwheat Flour for purchase, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Buckwheat Flour for purchase, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had they sold snow globes with people freezing in line outside, I might have purchased one. Instead, I settled for a pen, a small piece of heart-shaped maple sugar candy, and a few tea bags of Maple tea.

Maple Tree Inn Gift Shop Items, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Gift Shop Items, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Gift Items - Pen and Heart Shaped Maple Candy. Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tree Inn Gift Shop Items – Pen and Heart Shaped Maple Candy. Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tea from The Maple Tree Inn, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Maple Tea from The Maple Tree Inn, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Service

The hostess and the servers at Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn were all friendly, albeit highly efficient. It is easy to see that they are trying to be polite as possible, while working as quickly as possible. With a long line of patrons, there is not time for chit-chat or leisurely conversation.

As I mentioned, our food was delivered in record time, and it just kept coming…too quickly for my liking. After driving an hour and half to get there, and waiting in line in the cold for an hour, we weren’t about to be rushed through enjoying our buckwheat pancakes. Oh, and that refill glass of cranberry juice only came after one of my table mates flagged down a server with hand signals that would make an airport runway worker proud!

Overall Impression

Yes, the buckwheat pancakes were a nice treat, and the maple syrup was simply delicious. I am glad that I had the opportunity to go to Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn. I had heard about it from several people over the years and I had hoped some day to get there. Would I go back? Yes, I would, but only if the temperature was over freezing and if I didn’t have to wait in line outside. The best bet for that is to go on a week day, so I am told. Give it a try to enjoy the maple syrup that New York State has to offer. You better hurry though, because this year’s season ends on April 12th!

If you go:

Maple Tree Inn
4321 County Road 15A
Angelica, NY 14709
(2 miles from Short Tract, NY)

Phone: 585-567-8181
Website: http://www.cartwrightsmapletreeinn.com
Email:    unable to find an email address
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cartwrightsmapletreeinn
Twitter: unable to find a Twitter account

Details:
Business Hours:  Tues-Fri: 9am – 8pm, Sat: 8am – 8pm, Sun: 8am – 6pm (Closed Mon and Easter Sunday)
Cuisine:                     American
Meals Served:            Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Children’s Menu:         Yes
Accepts Credit Cards:  No – Cash Only (ATM in the lobby)
Handicap Accessible:   Yes
Attire:                        Casual
Requires Reservations: No
Table Service:             Yes
Take Out:                    No
Outdoor Seating:          No
Parking:                      Free and plentiful in private lot
Valet Service:              No
Bar Seating:                Yes
Alcohol:                      No
Coat Check:                No
Date opened:              1963
Date visited:               Sunday, March 22, 2015 (brunch)

 ***

Restaurant Review: New Roots Coffeehouse (Greece, NY)

New Roots Coffeehouse
New Roots Coffeehouse, Courtesy: newrootscoffeehouse.com

Surroundings

Located inside Aria’s School of Music & Art, on a one-way street in a retail and residential area across from a large shopping mall, New Roots Coffeehouse is a recent addition to the café landscape of Greece, NY.  Set apart by a large tree wrapped in white lights, it proudly directs patrons to “turn right at the stump!” referring to a large tree stump just past the driveway. I say driveway, rather than parking lot, because this coffeehouse was once a two-story residential home. Be careful not to pass it up, or else you’ll have to loop around the block to get back to the busy, one-way street entrance. The former driveway serves as a narrow passageway to a small, shadowy parking area in back of the house, containing a half-dozen or so parking spots.  Additional parking is available a bit further back, in a dark lot, bordering a pass-thru to a small strip mall.

With stairs at both the front and back entrances, I did not see a handicap accessible egress, although their website refers to accessibility. Seasonal outdoor seating is available on the elevated deck attached to the back of the establishment. This coffeehouse would surely benefit from more prominent signage and more plentiful outdoor lighting.

Atmosphere

The New Roots Coffeehouse website states that the owner’s vision is “to create a safe zone where adults and children alike could come and relax, listen to good music, while enjoying coffee, specialty drinks, and baked goods with their choice of almost anything allergy conscious.”

The interior of New Roots Coffeehouse is quite cramped, but yet quaint and inviting. The seating areas consist of what were previously rooms in the converted house.  They include two small lounging areas across from each other with four or five tables in each, connected by a small common area containing one table.  Modest entryways are located at both the front and back entrances. Food and beverage orders are taken just inside the front entrance, where patrons can view the menu posted above the counter and pay for their purchases.

The dark hardwood floors and bright yellow walls make for a cheery décor. All of the hanging artwork is from local artists and is displayed for sale on a rotating basis.  Adjustable lighting via a dimmer switch in the front room helps set the mood for the Saturday night student performances.  The night we visited was the inaugural weekly student spotlight performance, followed by several other solo and duo student performances, including vocals and musical instrument playing.  Although entertaining, the live music made it difficult to converse.

The clientele was a mix of students, parents and others supporting the performers. Some of the students appeared to be unaccompanied by adults, which was apparent by their uninhibited canoodling and very public (and inappropriate) displays of affection.

Aria’s School of Music & Art houses the coffeehouse. The school includes two student practice rooms downstairs and three rooms upstairs, all of which are separate from the coffeehouse space. Each downstairs practice room contained a piano, presumably for student lessons and practices. My companion noticed that the risers on the stairs to the second level (not open to coffeehouse patrons) were covered with sheet music paper – a nice themed touch! Also, one common wall by our table featured framed pictures and biographies of the school’s music teachers.

Menu

New Roots Coffeehouse offers a variety of hot and cold beverages and baked and frozen treats. Hot beverages include coffee in several popular variations (both whole bean and ground), chai latte, organic tea, hot cider, and hot cocoa.  Flavor shots, and soy and rice milk are also available.  Cold Beverages include iced coffee in popular variations, iced latte, iced and frozen chai, smoothies, shakes, Italian sodas, energy drinks, juices, Coke and Diet Coke

Breakfast Sandwiches offerings can be made with egg, cheese, bacon and sausage and are available on bagels (gluten-free available), waffles and English muffins.  All of the baked and frozen goods are available as gluten-free options and include brownies, muffins, cookies, bagels, cakes, ice cream, parfaits, snack bars and oatmeal. I also noticed fresh fruits and single serving pre-packaged snacks available.

Food

I ordered hot cocoa with whipped cream for $1.65 and a large chocolate chip muffin priced at $2.50.  The hot cocoa was hot, very rich and a bit overly sweet. However, the whipped cream balanced the sweetness nicely. I found the muffin to be fresh and moist, with a surprise cream cheese center. It was a great accompaniment to the hot cocoa.  Together, these two items made for a nice evening snack. My companion also ordered a hot cocoa, but without whipped cream. She agreed that it was very sweet and rich, but still quite enjoyable.

Later in the evening, I ordered an organic lemon tea on ice. The $1.78 tea was made by steeping a lemon tea bag in iced water.  It was refreshing and tasty.

Service

I found the service to be friendly, quick, attentive and accurate. While Aria prepared the drinks behind the counter, another worker (presumably her husband?) took orders and cashed out customers.  Our beverages were delivered to our table, which was a nice touch. Patrons can fix their drinks at a self-serve nook next to the ordering counter, containing cream, sugar, and various other accoutrements.

Aria, the owner of New Roots Coffeehouse and Aria’s School of Music & Art, delivered my lemon iced tea drink to our table and explained that organic tea bags are thin, sometimes allowing for tea particles to escape into the drink. She wanted to be sure that I knew that the drink was supposed to be that way. I appreciated her personal attention as she spent some time chatting with us.  She also explained that she decided to open the school after she could no longer adequately teach the 130+ students out of her home.

New Roots Coffeehouse also offers a frequent customer punch card, with which customers may earn free or discounted beverages after accumulating ten punches.  I was pleased when Aria remembered to bring a punch card for me right to our table.   In addition to cash and credit cards, they also accept Square payments.

The small sitting area in the back of the establishment is available for rent for your event.  A host is included with the room rental. The size of a bedroom, the room fits a handful of tables with four seats each, and has a door for privacy and a window for extra light.

As we were leaving, I could not find a trash receptacle to discard my beverage container. Instead, I had to bring my trash to the front ordering counter, where the host offered to discard it for me.

Overall Impression

I am happy to see that a privately owned coffeehouse opened in Greece, which has been dominated by franchise coffee establishments for several years. The hot and cold beverages were quite good and the service is high quality. The student performances are a nice change of pace and a unique offering, but admittedly, I did feel like I was at a high school band practice, due to the groups of boisterous teens. I would consider stopping in for a breakfast sandwich or cup of coffee on a day without performances, because I like to support local small businesses, and the food and service were enjoyable.

Whether you want to hear the music school students perform or you simply want to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, stop in and check out New Roots Coffeehouse on Long Pond Road in Greece, across from the Mall at Greece Ridge Center.  Also, if you are interested in enrolling your child in music or art lessons, talk with Aria while you are there; she owns Aria’s School of Music & Arts, in which the coffeehouse is located.

 

If you go:

New Roots Coffeehouse
1273 Long Pond Road
Greece, NY 14626
(suburb of Rochester, NY)

Phone:                 (585) 453-8228
Website:              http://www.newrootscoffeehouse.com/  AND http://www.araiSchool.com
Email:                  direct email not available – see website for comment form
Facebook:            https://www.facebook.com/newrootscoffeehouseTwitter:               @newrootscoffeehouse

Details:

Business Hours:                Mon & Tues: 7am-9pm, Wed & Thurs: 7am-10pm,
Fri: 7am-10pm, Sat: 8am-11pm, Sun: 9am-8pm
Cuisine:                           Coffeehouse, Breakfast (Limited Menu, Food Allergy Conscious)
Meals Served:                  Breakfast Sandwiches, Baked and Frozen goods, Hot and cold beverages
Children’s Menu:              No
Accepts Credit Cards:       Yes
Handicap Accessible:        Yes
Attire:                             Casual
Requires Reservations:     No
Table Service:                 No (other than to deliver beverages ordered at the counter)
Take Out:                       Yes
Delivery Service:             No
Outdoor Seating:            Yes
Parking:                         Limited in the rear of the building, free
Valet Service:                 No
Bar Seating:                   n/a
Alcohol:                          No
Coat Check:                    No
Date opened:                  Fall, 2013
Date visited:                   Saturday evening on March 8, 2014

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