Food & Drink

Sneak Peek at Boxwood Coffee, Replacing Panera in Westfield this Winter

Boxwood coffee in Summit. Credits: Kate Brochu
Boxwood Coffee in Summit. Credits: Kate Brochu
Former Panera location will be new home to Boxwood Coffee. Credits: Kate Brochu

WESTFIELD, NJ – “We’re going to do things that no one’s ever done before,” said Boxwood Coffee Roasters Owner Stephen Bellamy. He’s talking about the offerings at their new Downtown Westfield specialty coffee shop, which could open at the end of 2017. The shop will take over the space formerly occupied by Panera.

“We have always loved Westfield,” Bellamy said. “We were trying to find a town that had a good downtown and foot traffic.” An opportunity opened up Summit before a Westfield location became available, but Bellamy said that they have always pegged Westfield for their next shop.

“We’ve been thinking about the Westfield location for three years,” he said.

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The Downtown Westfield location is going to be more than just a coffee bar. It will be three times the size of its Summit counterpart and offer additional experiences within the store -- everything from brewing classes, tasting events and a training lab offering certifications from the Specialty Coffee Association of America will be housed at the Westfield location.

“There are very few training centers,” said Bellamy, who hopes that the training facility will attract people from all over the state.

The location is still undergoing renovations, but plans are set for a larger kitchen area that Bellamy estimates is about four to five times bigger than the Summit location. The store will also boast a coffee bar and roasting facilities that will be viewable to the public.

While Bellamy said that the coffee is going to be the main talking point, the plan is to offer much more than a traditional coffee bar. He hopes to experiment with handcrafted beverages and mocktails featuring tea and coffee components.

“We’re trying to use this area as a laboratory to experiment with reductions,” said Bellamy. The food menu is also being revamped for the Westfield location and will include made-to-order items along with gourmet salads, wraps and desserts.

Bellamy plans to host events and open mic nights similar to those that are currently offered in Summit.

“There is a natural area in the design for the stage area,” he said. Live music, open mics and trivia nights are a few events he hopes to offer to the community.

“I love when a town comes together to celebrate the arts,” he said.

While there has been much buzz around town, Bellamy hopes to manage expectations. He’s aiming for an end-of-2017 store opening but cautions that there are still a lot of variables. Bellamy hasn’t made any official announcements regarding the store opening.

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