Some­thing’s brew­ing at King and Fifth

Cup of Joe ready to take over where Cof­fee Cul­ture left off – with a twist

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - LOUIS PIN For more in­for­ma­tion on Cup of Joe con­tact them at

In De­cem­ber staff at Cof­fee Cul­ture in down­town Chatham ar­rived at the shop to find the cafe closed, of­fi­cially mov­ing out of Chatham with­out warn­ing.

This spring a new restau­rant will take its place.

Joe Robertson’s Cup of Joe is nearly ready to open at the cor­ner of King and Fifth streets. The lo­cally owned and op­er­ated cafe will fea­ture or­ganic cof­fee from Hawaii, bistroin­spired sand­wiches, and op­tions for ev­ery kind of cus­tomer – veg­e­tar­ian, ve­gan, and gluten-free in­cluded.

If all goes well it could be open as soon as this Mon­day.

Robertson says his goal is to per­son­al­ize ev­ery­thing for his cus­tomers, some­thing larger or­ga­ni­za­tions some­times fail to al­low for.

“When you’re in­de­pen­dent you have the lux­ury of go­ing over and be­yond for your cus­tomers,” he said. “Cor­po­ra­tions, they’re rigid … as op­posed to the ma and pa shops where you get to know your cus­tomers per­son­ally.”

Ac­cord­ing to Robertson he’d never ac­tu­ally been in­side the old Cof­fee Cul­ture. But when he de­cided to rent the prop­erty he looked on­line for re­views and found many of them were pos­i­tive.

Some of those re­views raved about old em­ploy­ees, peo­ple Robertson kept an eye out for dur­ing the hir­ing process. “Some of the re­views of the place men­tioned [those em­ploy­ees] go­ing out of their way,” Robertson said. “And the peo­ple with the re­ally good re­views were some of the ones who in­ter­viewed … that’s the kind of em­ployee I look for. You re­ally come back to a place for the staff and the ser­vice.”

Cup of Joe will be some­thing of an ex­per­i­ment. Robertson said he wants to in­cor­po­rate a west-coast feel to the shop, one with nu­mer­ous op­tions and a some­what fluid menu based on cus­tomer pref­er­ences. So what you see be­hind the counter on open­ing day later this month could be en­tirely dif­fer­ent come the end of sum­mer.

“You have more say on what the food is,” Robertson said.

Bistro-style sand­wiches are only the start. Robertson is look­ing to in­stall a soft-serve ice cream ma­chine and other sum­mer-friendly dessert op­tions, as well as built-in op­tions for peo­ple on a diet and lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents.

“I’ve been look­ing to do some­thing in Chatham for a while,” he added. “Just couldn’t find that unique – I like to use the term funky – spot, and a friend of mine called and no­ticed the For Lease signs.”

The new Cup of Joe will be right be­side the Board­walk on the Thames con­do­minium project, which could pro­vide a boon to the lo­ca­tion af­ter con­struc­tion is com­plete.

Un­til then Robertson and his new staff will work to­wards re-es­tab­lish­ing a go-to, sit-down lo­ca­tion at the Down­town Shop­ping Cen­tre cor­ner, one va­cant for al­most half a year.

On April 21, the restau­rant will dis­trib­ute free cof­fee out­side “come hell or high wa­ter”, ac­cord­ing to Robertson.

“I want feed­back,” Robertson said, laugh­ing. “And word’s get­ting out. I’m sur­prised how much good feed­back I’m get­ting.”


Joe Robertson stands in­side the soon-to-be Cup of Joe, set to open as soon as next week. The restau­rant will have a west-coast at­mos­phere and will oc­cupy the same place Cof­fee Cul­ture va­cated in De­cem­ber last year.

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