Passing: Cool Beans
Journeys into Oradell
The identifying sign is gone. The place is empty. All that remains is a handwritten explanatory note on a chalkboard and the memories.
In its brief time – some 20 years, Cool Beans became something of a local institution – in the same breath as Hagler’s, Schreiber’s, and the bagel shop across the street that has been known by various names (now Sunrise). It was a local business that provided a good produc,t but also was know as a place where community was made. It was a place that mattered to those who came – and not just for the coffee.
Yes, there was coffee – and good coffee too – a nice alternative to Dunkin’ and Starbucks. At its height there were four different coffee roasters and 40 different kinds of coffee, not to mention 80 different kinds of tea and 30 different kinds of beer and craft whiskey.
But there was more – as was the intention of its founder - Chris Marino, a Teaneck resident. Chris had lived in lived in Italy for a year and tried to model Cool Beans after Italian coffee shops that were more like cultural centers of the community. "We offer the best quality coffee we can in a relaxing environment," he said in a 2016 interview.
And that relaxed atmosphere was recognized throughout the area and beyond. For instance, A Gannett piece that ran in the Record but also in the Asbury Park Press and the Courier News of Cherry Hill described Cool Beans as follows:
It's so funky, with a mishmash of shabby-chic furniture — stools, chairs, benches, low tables, high tables, bookcases, there's even an old piano — and, as of a few years ago, a bar. Yup, you can get your cup of java with a shot or two of hard alcohol. Perhaps the popular "Happy Husband" — double espresso with vodka, Kahlua and Bicerin chocolate liqueur. Or maybe the equally popular "Hellraiser," — spiced rum, ancho chili and ginger beer.
Now the place is quiet.
Upon a recent visit to check what was up and say good bye we were met by someone doing some work inside who told us that the establishment would be open again soon but as something different.
Time moves on – progress I suppose. There are those who noticed that the place may have grown a bit old and tired. But I regret its passing. A good cup of coffee could always be found just around the corner. So was a place that felt like a pub and community and town square as much as a coffee shop.
We honor its years of useful service, as well as the coffee and a priceless sense of community it served up.