Photo by John Lynch.

Above Grounds Coffee Shop has been a part of the Jersey City community for almost 20 years. Located on 170 Grand Street, the shop originally opened as Legal Grounds by Chris Escudero in 2004.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Escudero grew up in New York City before moving to Jersey City in 2000. 

Escudero describes the cafe as a “micro brewery,” as they brew all their own coffee.

(Above Grounds / Instagram)

Although the restaurant employed a larger number of employees in the past, since Covid-19, the business has been streamline. In November 2021, Chris’ son Christian began to help run the business, and now it mainly relies on the father and son team.

Both father and son have a very deep appreciation for music and the arts, and within the past year, they have been working to make their cafe hub for artists in downtown Jersey City, hosting events both inside the shop and in their backyard event space. 

“Our love of the arts is mutual,” Chris told Slice of Culture. “I would love to see poets, writers and everyone sitting back at a table like it’s the ’60s.”

While their venue may not be the largest, they have been making the most of their space by hosting a wide variety of events, all of which attract different kinds of artists in the Jersey City area. 

“We were doing jam nights here every Tuesday. We were having local musicians come by. We have a drum set and all the different instruments,” said Chris. “We coupled that with an arts event. Once a month we would have local artists come by and have a showing in the back.”

“The music and art events are the core of our cafe and event space,” said Christian. “We believe these events to be vital for the local Jersey City art scene, as there are not many other places inside the city doing the same.

The duo also have no plans on stopping their foray into the world of art. According to Chris, events are going to be something that keeps on increasing going into the fall. 

“We would love to eventually get into other artistic showcases such as larger galleries for all local visual artists as well as poetry readings and comedy nights for those that enjoy them,” said Christian. 

Many more events are in the process of being planned for the upcoming months, including the return of jam nights, open mic, karaoke and the possibility of video game themed events, such as a Super Smash Bros. tournaments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

This will close in 26 seconds

Verified by MonsterInsights