The owner of swore he would never run a café and solely got in the business for the coffee, but , he has changed his mind.
Owner Basem Hassan leased the former Molto Bene space on Main Street in Hightstown and plans to open a full-fledged coffee house in September.
“I’m a little frazzled at the work that has to happen, but I’m excited,” he said, noting he couldn’t pass up the location. The actual opening date will depend on permits and getting the space set up.
There will be an area set aside for roasting and Hassan hopes to double the amount of single origin beans he offers, which is now at nine. A counter and small bakery case will be toward the back.
The rest of the space will be divided in two by a sheer curtain - the front with small round tables in chairs and the back as a living room setup with a stage-type area.
Incorporating his background in the arts, Hassan plans to let local artists showcase their work on the walls and hold a variety of events that appeal to different demographics in town.
From open mic nights and movie screenings, to local bands and mommy-and-me time, Hassan hopes for something for everyone, and encourages the community bring ideas to him.
“If it makes sense, I’m open to anything,” Hassan said, noting his one hard line is it has to be family-friendly.
With the increased space and events comes the addition of food. The menu will be designed with healthy options in mind, and Hassan said he plans to use organic ingredients as much as possible.
There will be a grab and go breakfast menu, as well as more extensive options such as waffles and crepes. There is no grill in the space so lunch and dinner items will include sandwiches that can be made on a Panini press, salads and cold salads, but said there will be one or two signature items.
There will also be bottled drinks in addition to the extensive coffee menu.
Although logistics are still being worked out, Hassan plans to be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., but said the hours could change based on community demand.
Community members have voiced concerns over the flooding possibility, after following Hurricane Irene, but Hassan said he will have flood insurance and he’s willing to take the risk.
“I like to take calculated risks, and this is a calculated risk,” he said.
Have an idea for the new coffee house? Email Basem Hassan at RoastingPost@gmail.com.