A cafe is a modern-day replacement for a diner.  

Neighborhoods change, people move out, but a cafe plays an important part to give that area a unique identity.  

A cafe is a “small eating and drinking establishment, historically a coffeehouse, usually featuring a limited menu,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Each cafe is unique based on where it’s located (such as near a transportation hub, foot traffic area or intersection) and the types of people who visit (such as locals, tourists, businessmen and women, public employees, etc).  

The type of coffee, drink, snack or meal you order depends on the time of day. And if you are lucky, some of them stay open late and you can treat yourself to a snack after a long hectic day.  

Here are 5 unique cafes found throughout Jersey City.

ModCup

If you’re from Jersey City or the surrounding area, you probably get your coffee from Starbucks, 7-11, Dunkin’ Donuts or a local Deli around the corner. You might claim those spots to have the best coffee and baked goods, but if you don’t go outside of your comfort zone you are held back by your biases.  

ModCup was established in 2013 and the first location was in Hoboken. They converted from a hotdog cart to a coffee cart and then owning “2 retail cafes, a 1969 Citroen coffee truck, and a 2000sq.ft cafe/roastery with a bigger 15-kilo commercial-sized roaster,” according to their website.  

They gave the cafe scene a modern look along with globally sourced coffee and a simple menu. They roast their own coffee using their own technique and snacks that complement the coffee. The cafe also has cool coffee makers or gadgets to make a perfect cup of coffee at home.  

ModCup stands out because of their unique locations: a larger cafe to hangout or study at, a small hole in the wall for coffee on the way to work or just craving coffee, and one location serving corporate America and tourists. 

Lackawanna Coffee

This particular spot opened up around 2014 and it has three locations that are located downtown.  Each one of their locations contain unique artwork and cozy vibes. 

While they do offer a basic cup of coffee, they are known for drinks not found in mainstream cafes or nationwide chains like Turkish Latte, Japanese style coffee and Black Sesame Latte. They also have fresh-baked pastries, cookies and small crafted meals.  

Most cafes have an indoor seating area but because of COVID-19, indoor seating is limited.  However, at their main location, located on Grove Street, they have a back patio for outdoor seating and a ping-pong table.

Semicolon Cafe

The Semicolon cafe is a Korean style cafe and many others like it have popped up around NYC and across New Jersey.  

For a first timer, it feels like you are stepping into a Starbucks. After taking a few steps, you will notice a lot of woodwork and two levels within the cafe that gives it a home-like feeling.  They have traditional teas and coffee drinks, but the rest of their items set it apart from other cafes in the area.  

On the menu, you will find a variety of bubble teas, such as taro and Thai iced tea, fresh smoothies, and specialty drinks like cold brew and matcha. As you further explore the menu they also offer sandwiches only found here, such as Belt (that contains scrambled eggs, grilled corn, lettuce, stem tomatoes, toasted brioche bread, and mustard mayo), and Bulgogi (scrambled eggs with grilled corn, lettuce, stern tomatoes, marinated beef, toasted brioche, and bulgogi sauce).  

When you go up to the second level, you will come across a mini-book library and extra sitting area.  This cafe is an ideal study spot, friends and family hangout or an escaped from the hectic outside world. 

Dulce De Leche

Dulce De Leche is located in the Heights section of the city which is on the other side and is a working-class neighborhood. This neighborhood has seen many changes like house renovations, modern living complexes and new eateries.  

The original and first location is located on Bergenline Ave in West New York (within Hudson County and directly across the river from NYC).  It is an Argentinian based bakery-cafe that adds a modern touch to all the things that are prepared onsite.  

This cafe has a wider selection of items found on its menu when compared with other cafes in the city. The menu is split into two parts: breakfast and lunch.  For breakfast, you can pick from a number of options, such as freshly made coffee, chicken sausage/egg/and cheese, ham and cheese omelet, cookies, pastries, etc. For lunch, you can pick from a variety of different empanadas, spinach puff, choripan, homemade ravioli, etc.  And not to forget various cake options, such as Tres Leche and Dulce De Leche Chantilly.  

The Jersey City location is quiet in the mornings on weekdays, but busy during lunchtime and weekends.  It is an ideal spot to take your family, friends and coworkers to grab a cup of coffee, freshly made pastries, etc. 

Crema 

This is one of the newest additions to the cafe scene in the McGinley Square neighborhood, which happens to be about a mile from Journal Square (a major transportation hub).  It is located at an intersection within a working-class neighborhood and along a busy walkway and roadway.

It offers a wide variety of drinks, pastries, cookies, and ice cream flavors. It also offers trendy drinks, such as Cold Brew, Matcha, Acai Lemonade, Nitro Cold Brew and Nutella Latte. The various types of toasts they have on-hand include Braised Brisket Toast, Nutella Toast and Curried Chicken Toast.  

The cafe also has trendy new options, such as the Acai Bowl, and is one of the few cafes that offer a variety of empanadas.  It is an ideal place to study and hang out inside or outdoors, but because of COVID-19, there is limited seating outside.

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