Friendship Perk and Brew is a grad student’s dream. The new cafe at South Pacific and Friendship avenues in Bloomfield is cozy, clean and relatively quiet. It has all the amenities for a study night or an engaging conversation about philosophy or whatever. Patrons can start with a barista-crafted latte, then order a muffaletta sandwich or chopped-vegetable salad, and end the evening by relaxing with a local craft beer or scoop of ice cream.
Co-owner Nick Redondo welcomes millennials, but wants his cafe to be embraced by all demographics. “What we really wanted was for this to be a neighborhood meeting place for everybody,” says Redondo.
After two convenience stores (7-Eleven and later, Brian and Cooper) vacated the building, Perk and Brew went through a lengthy renovation to become the venue it is today. (Fun fact: The old 7-Eleven was one of the few convenience shops in the area to have a bar.) Now, the inside of the cafe is bright and homey, with wood floors and an exposed brick wall. Redondo says he is excited for the winter, so he can turn on the gas fireplace, and customers can cozy up on the cafe’s couch.
Redondo says the cafe is focused on providing locally sourced products and makes homemade food as much as possible. For example, he says he makes roast turkeys for sandwiches in-house, and Perk and Brew offers sodas from Natrona Bottling Company, as well as coffee roasted by Kiva Koffeehouse, in Cranberry.
Redondo recognizes the welcoming vibe inside Perk and Brew, but he’s also proud of what he installed just outside the cafe walls. On the sidewalk of Friendship Avenue, a brand-new water fountain provides easy refreshment to passersby. (It even has a secondary, lower fountain for dogs.)
Redondo says his contractor told him he was crazy for installing the fountain, but Redondo was adamant. He wanted to give back to the community.
“It’s about the neighborhood and the people in it,” says Redondo.