I sat down with the owners of The Grind Coffee Shop located 360 Communipaw. The locations hugs the interection of Communipaw and Suydam Avenue where the life of this area seems to be taking form.
The shop is owned by Charles Boyd, Shane Clark, and Michael Clark (married). Charles and Michael are brothers and all three are coffee lovers. The Communipaw location is the epicenter of community and convergence with everyone coming from all over Jersey City to get their coffee and pastries. When I came in to try my now favorites lavender and chocolate latte and the green matcha brownie, someone drove from Journal Square to get her lunch time coffee because she loved the coffee, but also because she had become friends with Shane.
They have created a clean and fresh environment that is also cozy and makes you want to stay and hang out (or work). They host monthly music jams, meetings of the Jersey City minds, and of course delicious coffee.
Please tell us a little about yourselves and where are you from?
Shane Clark: Mike is from Brooklyn and Charles was born and raised in Jersey City. Charles now lives in Brooklyn, while Mike and I have been living in Jersey City with our two kids for over 10 years.
What was the idea behind Grind Coffee? What sets Grind Coffee apart?
Michael Clark: The idea behind The Grind Shop was to have something we could build together for our future. I would say the aesthetic of the shop and products we carry, sets us apart from other shops in Jersey City. We have amazing coffee and products we truly stand behind is what we pride ourselves on.
What is your connection to coffee?
SC: We are all serious coffee connoisseurs. Charles has an affinity for coffee shop interiors and Mike and I love the culture. Coffee brings people together.
How did you get the exclusive distribution of Doughnut Plant in Jersey City?
SC: Coming from a culinary background, it was my mission to carry some of the best pastries NYC had to offer. I reached out to a few vendors and Doughnut Plant was on the top of my list! (They get exclusive flavors like the matcha doughnut, yes there is a theme).
Tell us where you get some of the other treats?
SC: They are all from local companies. The bars are from Milk Sugar Love in Jersey City, the crumb cake is from Sweet Sam in the Bronx, and the danish and monkey bread is from Balthazar in NYC.
Why did you chose Jersey City for your coffee shop? Specifically Bergen Lafayette?
MC: As a native of Jersey City, Charles suggested the BeLa area. With close proximity to New York City and the Light Rail down the block, we saw the incredible potential. Not to mention the wonderful tight knit community who have welcomed us with open arms from day one.
There is a lot of change coming to Bergen Lafayette - especially in your area, how do you feel the Grind Coffee Shop has been part of that?
MC: I would say we were essentially the lone wolf at the time we opened. I know there's been some good businesses in the area, who unfortunately haven't had the best luck, but it all boils down to timing.
Now it seems like this is the place to be.
MC: The timing was right and there was definitely a void.
What was the impetus to open another coffee shop so close to your original location? And what is the difference between the 2 locations?
Charles Boyd: We wanted to stake our foothold in the area and it was a great opportunity that we just couldn't pass up. The Communipaw location is a true coffeeshop where as the shop in the Baker Building has a more lounge/speakeasy kind of vibe. They feel and look completely different.
What makes Jersey City special to you?
CB: Jersey city is home and I'm proud to be a part of the exciting changes that's happening.
What are you looking forward to within Jersey City?
CB: Growth and to be THE coffee destination in Jersey City.