Something’s brewing at King and Fifth
Cup of Joe ready to take over where Coffee Culture left off – with a twist
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.