NEW MILFORD – The Historic District soon will be home to a high-end coffee shop serving homemade treats for breakfast and lunch.
Java Haus at the Alpenhaus will open April 9 on the second floor of the trendy restaurant that offers authentic, old-world German cuisine.
Restaurateurs, Manuela Young and Jeff Yenter of Brookfield, have a five-year lease with an option to renew with Bank Street Group. It includes 1,000-square feet for Java Haus.
The shop fills a downtown void left when nearby Bank Street Coffee House closed in October.
“We were feeling the community need from the closing,” Yenter said. “We went there a lot ourselves and thought the timing and opportunity was great. We have the space and we’re filling a void.”
At 59 Bank St., on the corner of Railroad Street, this historic 1902 brick building is an inviting host for a quaint coffeehouse with small-town charm.
Recently renovated it has exposed brick walls, a mixture of reclaimed wood and a high ceiling that gives it an old, rustic feel.
“My first dream was to have a coffeehouse. Before the restaurant, I started with a cafe in Brookfield. Now, this is it,” said Young. “We’re feeling the excitement of the community. People are saying, ‘Wow, this is great you are doing this.’ We are just as excited as they are.”
Tony Vengrove, founder of Makery Coworking at 20 Bank Street, said that he and his clients are delighted to have a coffeehouse nearby.
Yenter, a general contractor and master woodworker, who helps run the restaurant in the evenings and on weekends, built a counter to serve customers. He finished the interior millwork four years ago when the restaurant opened, and built the wooden chairs and tables, too.
The coffee shop will seat 35 people inside, and the business will seek a permit for outdoor seating.
At first, Young will manage both the coffeehouse, with its six workers, and restaurant.
Coffee machines, espresso machines and grinders are in, and work continues to set up equipment, decorate and stock the shelves.
Java Haus’ featured coffee is from Sacred Grounds Coffee Roasters in Sherman that imports a wide variety of organic, fair-trade coffee from all over the world.
“We selected Columbian Sierra Nevada for the dark roast, Nicaraguan Jinotega for the medium roast and Mexican Chiapas for the decaf,” said Yenter.
Espresso, cappuccino and latte will be served, too. Chai tea and Harney & Sons assorted teas will also be offered.
The coffee and tea options range from $2 to $6 per cup and a fancy espresso starts at $5.
Young, who is from Flensburg, Germany, a city that borders Denmark, will bake from scratch. “My famous Apple Strudel, Black Forest Cake, and Nubier Torte – named after a region in Africa that’s a decadent chocolate cake with coffee cream filling – will definitely be on the menu,” she said.
Pastries are in the $3 to $5 range and cakes by the slice are in the $5 to $8 range.
Breakfast items include scones, muffins, bagels, Muesli – oatmeal mixed with nuts and berries – and egg sandwiches. For lunch, soups and sandwiches will also be served.
All food items are made on-site using locally sourced ingredients.
Once the coffee shop is up and running, the couple will experiment with different ways to brew and serve coffee.
“We plan to keep up with the trends in craft coffees and do more pour-overs; the French press method for brewing, etc. We’d like to explore cold-brewed and nitro coffees, too,” said Young.
The couple will also offer dessert coffees such as Irish coffee, a specialty Swiss dessert drink, and a tasty Alpenhaus chocolate liquor beverage.
“Jeff and I are really excited to open the door and welcome the people,” Young said.
Java Haus Hours: Open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This feature and photos by Alicia Sakal originally appeared online and on the Business front page of the March 30 edition of Republican-American, a regional daily newspaper in 36 towns and cities in Litchfield County and Greater Waterbury, Connecticut.
(Now out of business.)