Hidden Grounds to open new location near New Brunswick Train Station
What started out as a basement with no floors, wall, electricity or heat is now Hidden Grounds, a coffee shop offering Rutgers students and New Brunswick residents coffee, tea and sandwiches.
Three years after opening the first location on the corner of Mine Street and Easton Avenue, the restaurant will see a second location opened near the New Brunswick Train Station, said Anand Patel, one of the owners.
Patel opened the original cafe in 2013 with his friends from Johnson & Johnson.
“I became so fed up discussing the possibility of a new business and not turning it into an action,” he said.
His team stumbled on the original location while looking at a "For Lease" sign in New Brunswick, he said. They liked what they saw in the subterranean rooms they found.
“It had a sense of coziness, which didn’t leave me or my friends,” he said.
The next day Patel and his business partner turned it into their own shop, he said.
The new cafe is in the process of being built at 4C Easton Ave., Patel said. The plan for this new location is to be a Hidden Grounds Espresso Bar.
“This second location will create an entirely new experience and change the perspective of the shop, making it even better,” he said.
The new espresso bar will have more space for costumers, Patel said. The menu will include the restaurant's seven best products, and it will see more customer-employee interaction through a new seating arrangement and design of the shop.
The cafe's employees are crucial to the restaurant's success, he said.
“Our employees are a big part of what we are in every aspect,” Patel said.
The shop will include an espresso bar below the counter to create more space and may offer some bakery items, such as donuts, he said. The goal is to get more people from George Street and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital employees to visit this shop because the current location limits the potential clientele.
Amreen Qaiyumi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, used to go to Hidden Grounds every week during her first two years of college to study.
“I love coffee in general, but Hidden Grounds' coffee is definitely better than Dunkin' (Donuts) because it's stronger and tastes better. I love the environment because the place itself is so pretty and there is always good music playing and good vibes,” she said.
The shop brings out positivity and is a perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a sandwich or read a book and appreciate life, she said.
She plans to visit their new location on Easton Avenue, she said.
Next year she is planning to attend some of the events offered at Hidden Grounds when she lives closer to Easton Avenue, she said.
“The place is absolutely wonderful with great coffee and food and great people working there too,” Qaiyumi said
Kristen Huang, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, tries to go to Hidden Grounds as often as possible.
If she hears that a friend has not been to the coffee shop before, she plans a coffee date with them there.
“I feel very creative when I go to Hidden Grounds,” she said. “There’s something about the vibe there, and the aesthetic of the décor, that makes me feel like I’m not at Rutgers anymore and the coffee helps too."
Patel said when he goes into Hidden Grounds, he forgets the outside world exists.
“I think what’s most interesting about people involved in making Hidden Grounds a success is that we understand we may not agree on everything we do, but we respect one another,” Patel said. “No matter how hard we push ourselves and someone else when we are on schedule, when we walk out of Hidden Grounds we hang out like friends, and that’s the key for us."
Jessica Herring is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in English. She can be found on Twitter @Jesslindsey93.