At Hudson River Housing, Inc.’s Coffee House, Café & Kitchen, customers can get their caffeine infusion and tasty food while helping the community.
Situated in a c.1874 former underwear factory, Hudson River Housing‘s Coffee House, Café & Kitchen offers a menu packed with all the goodies you’d expect to be served at a coffee house inside of a renovated brick factory: plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, locally-made baked goods and sweets, locally-sourced kombucha, tea, and coffee. But, because this is Hudson River Housing’s coffee house and cafe, these aren’t just treats and a drink. Popping into the coffee house is an act of social consciousness, served piping hot.
Local Beans and More
The cafe is also home to North River Roasters, Poughkeepsie’s first local coffee roaster, which sources its beans from farms that provide fair wages and practice sustainable farming methods, and roast their beans on-site. “We serve [North River Roasters] coffee exclusively,” said Elizabeth Celaya, Hudson River Housing, Inc.’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. “It doesn’t get any fresher than that!”
Recently, Celaya continued, HRH’s partnership with Earth, Wind, and Fuego has expanded their exclusively gluten-free offerings to breakfast and lunch in the coffee house, while also providing job training for the economically-disadvantaged and homeless. HRH also sources from local makers, like New Paltz-based Sweet Maresa’s vegan gluten free macarons, and gluten-free cookies and cakes from Rhinebeck’s T-Spoon Desserts. Thanks to a shared-use commercial kitchen at the Underwear Factory, the HRH coffee house sells products made on-site, like Emy D’s chocolates, B-Pop sodas, and Laughing Gut Kombucha.
The Kitchen is Open
HRH has more big plans for the future. Up next: A new in-house bakery that will stock the coffee house with home-made muffins, scones, and pecan rolls, at the same time providing job training in bakery operations. In-house juices are coming this spring, fresh produce will be arriving in June, and local milk, bottled teas, cold brew, and local crafts are also in the offing.
The fully-equipped commercial kitchen isn’t only for use by HRH. In fact, the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen is available to rent for $25/hour, in an effort to “provide food entrepreneurs and start-ups with an affordable space to develop and grow their business,” explained Celaya. Local caterers, food truck operators, retail or wholesalers, cooking or nutrition instructors, or food concept developers, or for chefs to use it as a pop-up restaurant space can schedule kitchen times through an on-line calendar.
Paying it Forward
In addition to creating a space where the community can comfortably gather, the HRH coffee house has a “pay it forward” board, where people can purchase an item for someone in-need. City of Poughkeepsie residents get a 15% discount every day at the coffee house, and every Thursday, students get a 20% discount. “We’re proud to be a space where everyone feels comfortable and welcome,” Celaya said.
An Island in a City
The HRH Coffee House, Café & Kitchen, the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen, and the cafe’s Community Hub are in Poughkeepsie’s the Middle Main corridor, which includes Main Street from Academy Street to Pershing Avenue, between both arterials of Route 44/55. This sweet spot is essentially an island populated with history and diverse culture, currently undergoing renewal thanks to efforts by Hudson River Housing.
The three-story, 22,000-square-foot Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory at 8 North Cherry Street is the anchor project for that revitalization, and, in addition to housing the kitchen and cafe, it’s home to PUF (Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory) Studios on the second floor, The Art Effect on the third floor, and 15 ADA-accessible loft apartments. The Underwear Factory is also available to rent for private events and conferences, and offers semi-private co-working spaces.
Hudson River Housing, Inc. is a non-profit organization that strives to improve lives and communities through housing and development with vision. For more information on HRH’s mission, visit hudsonriverhousing.org.