Everyone knows that shopping at the huge Garden State Plaza can be an exhilarating and exhausting experience. So there are definite rules you can follow when preparing to shop. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, carry a light but roomy bag, and most important of all…never start out when you are hungry or thirsty. This proved to be a major distraction for kosher shoppers at the mall, as they had nowhere to grab a bite.
Now there are two spanking new kosher Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf spots at the Garden State Plaza with certification from the Kof-K. One beautifully decorated venue is right near the carousel, near Entrance 3. The other is an open-air kiosk with a limited menu, directly opposite the Apple Store in the heaviest run of the mall. Each cafe gives the tired shopper a chance to relax and recharge with a light meal or a refreshing beverage and pastry.
The cafes are part of New Amsterdam Coffee and Tea, the American chain of the International Coffee and Tea Leaf Corporation with corporate offices in Los Angeles. They have 900 locations in 23 countries around the world, including 14 stores in Israel.
Jeffrey Srulowitz, CEO/President of New Amsterdam Coffee and Team told Jewishlinks why he decided to "go kosher."
"After spending a good deal of time studying the market, we determined that given the strength and integrity of the brand, we would bring the chain to the East Coast. We opened our first locations about a year ago in New York City and have been fortunate that the stores in Greenwich Village, Midtown and on the Upper and Lower East Side were well received. We wanted to build on this momentum and excitement in other markets, such as Paramus, where we felt we could have similar brand awareness."
Garden State Plaza is in Paramus, and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves there are the first of the chain's franchises in New Jersey.
The Kof-K certified Coffee Bean cafes are uniquely decorated with sleek, modern appointments and offer ample seating and free WiFi. "We work with our own design specialists," says Srulowitz, "and take into consideration local influences and characteristics of our surroundings. Our larger store is Paramus is especially spacious and very family-friendly. We plan to use our community table for various family programs and other kinds of events."
Specialties of the house are Coffee Beans' signature brewed and blended coffee and tea drinks that have made the chain famous for 45 years. Baked goods and an array of sandwiches are delivered fresh every morning and individually wrapped. Choose from bagels, pastries, yogurts, salads and pasta dishes—anything you choose will hit the spot.
When Coffee Bean, as it is referred to locally, first opened, there was a group celebrating a birthday lunch that the friendly wait staff helped them choose. While enjoying their meal, many of their acquaintances stopped to chat and spend some time.
They were treated royally and were encouraged to linger and to celebrate with the finishing touch—a delicious, personalized birthday cake. They had such a good time, that some of them the mall happily satiated—and completely forgot to shop!
By Estelle Glass