Hidden Grounds serves to join local community
The Hidden Grounds coffee shop on Easton Avenue has been part of the New Brunswick community for more than two years. They have been serving various blends of coffee and hosting events open to the community of students, faculty, residents and employees in the area and are now looking to introduce a second Hub City location.
Co-owner Anand Patel wants to reflect the wants and needs of the community and has always aimed to make Hidden Grounds a place where people can hangout and socialize.
The same idea is used when planning the many events that Hidden Grounds hosts, Patel said.
“Students want to express their talents so events are created around that," he said.
These events include open mic nights, latte decorating classes and arts and crafts. The events are "very cool" for the customers and staff, said Danny Boutoussov, a barista and a School of Arts and Sciences part-time student.
Patel said he and co-owner Spoorthi Kumar are often surprised at how little they have to do with the success of the space. He said he sees Hidden Grounds as just a facilitator of the expression and art that goes on during any of their community events.
Many events are also planned with Rutgers student organizations. Patel tends to support student organizations that have a vision, but may lack the direction or support to help it become a reality, he said.
“I try to support them as much as it’s feasible," Patel said. "This includes giving them donations, lending them the space in Hidden Grounds or running promotions during their events to encourage a strong turn out."
Brandy Daniels, a professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies and a regular at the coffee shop, enjoys studying and going to the events at Hidden Grounds.
“From what I’ve seen they’re a cool part of the community and reflect its members,” Daniels said.
The events are not just for the New Brunswick community, but also for the Hidden Grounds staff, Daniels said.
“It can often be so packed you can’t have a conversation with the person you’re working with, all shift. Therefore, the events are a great way the employees relieve stress and get to know each other," Patel said.
After reflecting on the success they have had during their two years of business at 106 Easton Ave., Patel and Kumar will be opening a second location in New Brunswick, Patel said.
It was always a goal of theirs to expand, but it has only become a possibility now because they have separated themselves from the day to day activities at their current location, he said.
To improve his new location, Patel said he would like to create a new costumer experience, a new product and new décor. The new shop will continue to be a space meant to serve the community.
Hidden Grounds is a coffee shop that he associates with a lot of good memories and he appreciates its service to the community, said Dante Silver-Evans, School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
“Hidden Grounds has a nice comforting atmosphere and is a very cool spot,” he said.