Visitors to this site will know that since 2017 we have featured a number of Australian cafés in our posts. Most are located in the City, but one Aussie Café is located in Upstate New York.
Considering this is the time of year when New Yorkers are preparing to head north on 87 to visit a tree farm or embark on a ski trip, we spoke with Anthea and Mark who opened Village Coffee and Goods in Kingston, NY.
Anthea, where were you and Mark born?
Both Mark and I were born in Sydney. I grew up in West Pymble and Mark in Revesby.
What did you both do in Oz, before moving to NYC?
We are both musicians; Mark and I met through our singing teacher, and Mark also plays the piano. After a six month Lost In Translation style gig at the Tokyo Hilton, we got together and haven’t stopped making music since. Our original project is called The Hipstones. We played Sydney venues such as The Basement, 505, and other jazz hot spots that aren’t around anymore. We also played in other peoples bands and as session musicians.
What brought you to NYC?
Music! We really wanted to make a good old “go of it” with our original music. Although Australia loves music and used to be an amazing place to play live, it has become a hard place to make a living as an original artist. There really is only so far you can go as a 10 piece soul band.
We knew that NYC, the birth place of jazz and soul music and such a vibrant scene, that this was where we had to be. So in 2009 we made the move and landed in probably one of the best neighborhoods you could land, the West Village. We stayed there for 2 years and then moved over the bridge into an incredible loft apartment for seven years in Williamsburg – can I now call it Brooklyn’s SoHo?
What inspired you to open a café in NY?
In short, wanting a good flat white. In 2015 we had a baby boy, Jean, and felt the pull of nature and fresh air. As hard as it was to leave the City, we found our feet in a gorgeous bustling and up and coming town of Kingston. In 2017 we bought a house in an area where a decent coffee was slim pickings.
A coffee shop was the last thing on our minds when we moved here but within 3 months we had pretty much signed the lease on a place and started renovations. Mark has been a barista for about 20 years and when we came to NYC he worked at Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg and really honed his passion for making incredible coffee.
Notably, Mark spent two years working beside chef Jody Williams at Buvette, the beloved all-day bistro in the West Village of New York City. We wanted to create a café with specialty coffee and amazing food as well as provide some light provisions for locals. Village Coffee and Goods became just this.
What do you feel is unique about Village Coffee and Goods?
I think because we were able to build VCG on our own, no investors, it has been a true labor of love. Our philosophy is to keep everything as local as we can, from the food we source, to the produce we sell, to the lumber used to build our furniture, which we built ourselves.
We worked with local artists and artisans to encourage the support of everything this beautiful upstate region has to offer. All our mugs and plates are made by Woodstock artists, Lail Design. When someone walks into VCG they feel warm, welcomed and local.
Of course, the most important thing is the coffee and the food. We proudly serve Toby’s Estate coffee and locally sourced food is prepared to perfection. Yes, vegemite is on the menu!
What advice do you have for any Aussie thinking of opening a small business in New York?
Read Count More Beans by Nadi Elias!
From our little time being in business, I would say firstly, do it for the love of it. Location, well, many people told us that we were going to be too far out of the way, but you know what, people want to come out of the way for a great cup of coffee and a great meal. Create the environment and space that you would want to go out of your way for.
Always be friendly and happy to chat with anyone!
For hours and location you can visit villagecoffeeandgoods.com
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