Whether you are tired of Starbucks’ Pike roast, experiencing cabin fever studying in the library or just seeking a more hipster-esque space to lounge in, there are some cool local coffee shops worth checking out. Independent coffee shops like Cafeteria and The Crafted Cup offer a rich brew and a certain ambience that is hard to find at a generic coffeeshop chain. Although both places are overseen by the same owners, each offer a friendly, unique atmosphere of it’s own.
Just over the bridge on main street of New Paltz, you will usually find a group of locals sitting on the front steps of Cafeteria, plucking away at their guitars and singing some indie tunes. Walk into Cafeteria, and you might feel like you’ve just been transported to Central Perk on the set of “Friends”. Unlike a lot of trendy coffee joints that give off a superficial sense of history, Cafeteria has been a long time New Paltz staple (it was my uncle’s hangout back in college). The expansive, multi leveled space is filled with eclectic furniture and abstract paintings, dimly lit by antique lamps and large store front windows that welcome in some natural light.
Owners Tanner Townsend and Victor Lucio say that, “the students at SUNY New Paltz are an integral component to the success of Cafeteria”, so a few years ago they set out to create more of an off-campus hub for the student population, adding long wooden study tables and more live music and a coffee priced less than the neighboring Starbucks.
Luke Riccio, a senior at SUNY New Paltz, is a serious regular customer, being that he lives in a small apartment directly behind the coffee shop, “ The coffee is seriously exceptional. Every morning after I get out of the shower, the smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates my bedroom. It’s a very comforting, familiar aroma at this point.” You might attribute their brew’s rich taste to their all-organic coffee beans, which to a lot of customers, is an important plus. Luke also highly recommends their gluten-free treats, such as their locally acclaimed cinnamon blondie bar. So whether you are looking for a place to study or just a place to hang with friends and listen to some local artists, Cafeteria offers the perfect collaborative atmosphere.
Ten minutes down the road from Marist in the collegetown of Vassar, you will find The Crafted Kup, Townsend and Lucio’s newly renovated java joint. After its’ reopening last winter, the place has had an overwhelmingly positive response, with the line some mornings stretching out the door. The coffee shop’s new aesthetic Townsend describes as more modern and industrial, but the place has still kept it’s comfiness and warm atmosphere loyal customers have enjoyed. With it’s new look, the Crafted Kup has also revamped and expanded its original menu beyond just its’ regular coffee and small bites. The menu now includes superfood trends like their matcha green latte and smoothie bowls, but still offers your traditional bagels and egg sandwiches.
Marist junior Christina Summers is a newer customer and plans on making the coffee shop her new study spot, “So far, every time I’ve come here has been a great experience. The barista’s are super friendly and coffee is awesome (I drink it black). It’s worth the ten minute drive if you’re looking for a place to lounge and read a long article for class.”
Both Cafeteria and The Crafted Kup appeal to a wide variety of coffee lovers, both offering a cozy side where people can get together and another side more conducive to studying. If you’re in need of some off-campus leisure and a good cup of joe, both places got you covered.