Jesse Crouse, owner of Tipico Coffee, is embarking upon a new café adventure. Jesse is teaming up with partners Amber Small and Monica Cichon to open “Jam” at 301 Parkside Avenue. I sat down with Jesse yesterday to talk about the plan for the new café.
When asked about the nature of the partnership trio, Jesse simply stated, “It’s perfect.” He explained that Monica was the former head of the neighborhood association, and that Amber is currently the head of the association. That means that everyone has skin in the game when it comes to the success of the business, and the neighborhood.
The idea came about for the business after P. Moran’s closed. After discussing the future of the space, Amber and Monica decided that they wanted to try their hand at opening a café. They felt that they knew what the neighborhood wanted, but neither of them had restaurant experience. That’s when they came across Jesse (thanks to a tip from Rise Collaborative). It turned out that Jesse had been looking for his next opportunity to create a sister café to Tipico. He felt that the new space offered amazing opportunities, and he also felt that Amber and Monica both brought a lot to the partnership table, since they were both so familiar with, and passionate about, the neighborhood.
“It’s a great location,” Jesse told me. “Everyone assumes that you have to on Elmwood or on Hertel to succeed. I feel the exact opposite. There are some very high rents out there, which I try to avoid. Parkside offers up a ton of traffic. In order to capitalize on that, we’re going to have business hours that cater to the commuters. We will be open early in the morning as a ‘quick cup café’, and then we will be more of a community space during the day, which is what Amber and Monica felt the neighborhood needed. This is a tight-knit neighborhood, where everybody is supportive of one another. We’re going to create something truly exceptional here.”
Jesse told me that he was excited to have another chance at creating a unique café experience in Buffalo. Where Tipico is somewhat limited in its food offerings due to lack of a full kitchen, Jam will have everything that he needs to create a place where the food offerings are virtually limitless. Plus, having a sister café with so many culinary amenities might just enhance the Tipico experience in ways that we can only imagine at this point. “I’m going to take everything that I learned in California, Chicago and Buffalo, and I’m going to build something exceptional,” he stated. “We’re going to be making everything in house, based on the concept of ‘homesteading’, hence the name ‘Jam’. Everything will be made with passion, for the community, with a bent towards world class quality. Just like Tipico, we’re going to be there for the customer, with a focus on the quality of the experience – the coffee, the food and the service. We’re going to be serving up the best coffee in Buffalo, with the speed of Tim Hortons, so that commuters can get in, get out and get on their way to work in the morning.”
I asked Jesse about the café’s close proximity to The Zoo. He told me that he was crafting some interesting ideas to draw in people heading to The Zoo and Delaware Park. “We’re going to be offering customers ‘ready made’ picnics with ‘ready to go’ drinks,” he noted. “People will be able to pick up a meat, veggie, or kid’s option. Then they can take it with them and have a picnic. It’s got to be good, fast and kid-friendly.”
Jesse feels that Jam has the opportunity to become a beloved neighborhood hangout, where customers will come to love the slow pour overs. At the same time, it’s going to be a destination for those who appreciate world class food. And finally, Jam will be a coffee pit stop for rush hour commuters. Jesse is strategically incorporating a lot of different ingredients into this new venture, which he feels is the only way to create the best Jam possible.