Business / Economy

New coffee shop opens in Hunts Point

Birch Coffee and StartUp Box, a local business incubator, opened a coffee shop at 866 Hunts Point Ave., near Seneca Avenue, in May.

The new shop has the same menu as other Birch Coffee shops in the city, serving all types of coffee such as cappuccinos, macchiatos, lattes, mochas and Americanos. Most of the items range from $3 to $5, with a drip costing $2.50 and a mocha $4.25.

Birch Coffee, a chain of shops owned by Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, was founded in 2009. The company now has six locations in Manhattan, with a seventh shop opening in March in the Financial District. Startup Box, founded by Hunts Point resident Majora Carter, offers seminars, speaker series, and tech training from its offices in the same building as the coffee shop.

The store will be the first-ever specialty coffee shop in the neighborhood. Neighbors walking by the location, which was formerly a barbershop, seemed to have no clue or showed little interest in the shop’s grand opening. However, a handful sounded optimistic about how it would benefit the neighborhood.

“The idea of a new coffee shop opening in Hunts Point is pretty cool,” said Darien Cruz, 22, a guest services coordinator at Ulta Beauty in Midtown Manhattan who lives in Hunts Point. “I think the coffee shop is going to do very well because there aren’t a lot of places in Hunts Point where people can lounge around and enjoy a cup of coffee, so it’s pretty nice.”

The shop will be named “Birch Coffee Powered by StartUp Box,” according to Cassie Lovett, a spokesperson for Birch. Lovett said the owners wanted to open a branch here so residents of the neighborhood would be able to enjoy events such as poetry readings, musical performances, or to just meet other locals and enjoy coffee.

“I love their coffee,” said Stace Daniels, a strength and conditioning coach at St. Raymond’s High School for Boys in Parkchester. “Back when I was a fitness manager at New York Sports Club in Manhattan, I used to get Birch Coffee all the time.” Daniels, a Longwood resident, added that he looks forward to visiting once the shop opens.

Lovett added that the coffee company hopes the opening of the new shop will spark a new wave of offerings in the neighborhood. The shop will also offer coffee education and barista classes. That proposal elicited mixed reactions from passers-by.

“I guess it could be interesting to learn everything there is to know about coffee,” said Hunts Point resident Adriana Rodriguez. “Plus people can get to learn how to make mochas, lattes and Americanos and stuff, so that’s pretty unique. If I ever have any free time, I might even take a class or two, who knows?”

Some will just come for the coffee, not the extras.

“To be honest, learning about coffee doesn’t exactly appeal to me,” said resident Gerard Carty, a student at Bronx Community College. “I’m happy that Hunts Point has a new coffee shop opening, but I’m not interested in taking classes to learn about something I drink every day.”


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