SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Downtown Scotch Plains can look forward to getting its long-awaited coffee shop when Black Drop Coffee opens sometime this summer.

The independently owned coffee shop will specialize in coffee and espresso along with teas, other beverages, such as fresh squeezed lemonade, and delightful bites.

Black Drop Coffee is an independent and authentic Coffee Shop that will serve the Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Westfield area.  Our goal is to produce and provide high-quality espresso and coffee drinks alongside fresh and thoughtfully crafted food in an elevated ambiance sure to make your day just a little bit better.

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 -- Black Drop Coffee website

Owner Melody DeGaetano looked at a few different location options, before settling on the 1,400 sq. ft. space at 431 Park Ave., the current location of Salon Four, which is moving into the former Winter Hill Antiques building a few doors down.

"I've lived here for 10 years, I was spoiled by New York City and was used to having coffee shops around," said DeGaetano, RD, a registered dietitian, who ran the Kids Fit nutrition program at Newark Beth Israel Hospital and was wellness director for BRICK Education Network in Newark.

Coffee is one of the most potent antioxidants that people can have, according to DeGaetano, who will get her supplies from Good Life Coffee Company, a roaster and distributor based in Red Bank. They have created a specific blend to create a distinct, unique flavor and will also offer single-origin brews.

The experience will not be like Starbucks. 

"This will feel like a community coffee shop. One of the key factors is the size of the space; we didn't want disconnection from the owner and staff and the customers. We'll be on a first-name basis with them,” DeGaetano said. “For people who are not commuters, it can be an extension of their office.”

She also plans it to be a kid-friendly environment. 

“It's not just coffee. There will be teas and other beverages, small bites, full breakfast and lunch,” said DeGaetano is developing the recipes herself and has turned her own kitchen into a test kitchen.

While now might seem an unlikely time to launch a food business, DeGaetano is not worried. 

“I'm not worried about the slowdown. Coffee has proven recession-proof. We are all looking forward to the time when restrictions are lifted,” the Scotch Plains resident said. “This will be a place that feels like home. Let's give people something to look forward to.”

In the meantime, DeGaetano has reviewed her plans with Scotch Plains zoning official Bob Lacosta and hopes to begin renovating the space once Salon Four’s lease expires at the end of May. She is hoping to do a soft opening in July or August and then have a “real ramp-up” in September. DeGaetano is confident that people are looking for a place where they can enjoy a cup of coffee and something to eat in a friendly atmosphere.

“Until now, you have to go to QuickChek to get a cup of coffee, and you can’t drink it there,” said DeGaetano, who noted that QuickChek may be gone soon, based on the “For Rent” sign in the front of the building.

What kind of desserts will there be at Black Drop Coffee?

“Delicious ones," DeGaetano laughed. “Things will change seasonally. When farmers market is open, we hope to feature their produce in recipes."

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