RARITAN TWP., NJ – In its short time on Route 202 in front of the Fudge Shoppe here, “Peach” Hardy’s Coffee Bar became a virtual landmark.
The distinctive building-on-wheels had a whimsical appearance. It opened on July 14 and – within a week – disappeared.
Now there’s hope that it may return.
As previously reported, township officials said the Coffee Bar violated zoning rules and required a site plan, which Hardy hadn’t sought. In a public meeting, Mayor Karen Gilbert told Hardy and his staff that the township’s goal “is to keep you up and running.”
Although the Coffee Bar was removed, it wasn’t ordered to close and wasn’t issued any official notice of violation, according to Township Administrator Don Hutchins.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t problems.
“We’re working towards a solution,” Hutchins said in an interview this week, in advance of a meeting with Hardy to review some of the options.
Part of the problem is that the Coffee bar doesn’t qualify as a food truck, Hutchins said. That’s because customers could actually walk inside the Coffee Bar, rather than have their purchase handed to them through a window, as they would with a traditional food truck. Another challenge, Hutchins said, is that the Coffee Bar never moved. Had it been moved even one day a week, he said, that might make the permitting process easier.
Hardy and his wife Danielle said they “were very impressed” after meeting with Hutchins this week.
“He ran a fantastic meeting,” Hardy said in a statement. “Although there are items yet to be worked out, we remain optimistic and look forward to continue working with the township."
Editor's note: This article has been updated to remove Hutchins' claim that the Coffee Bar did not obtain a county health inspection. In an email sent after this article was published, Hutchins retracted that claim. It has also been updated to reflect that the Coffee Bar was open for only one week.