Ever since she was a child, Vanessa Piazza, owner of Josie’s Coffee Shoppe, traveled to Saugerties every summer from Brooklyn to spend the warmer months with her extended family. It wasn’t until two years ago that she decided to make the move out of her corporate job and relocate to the area full time. With the switch, she decided to create a gathering space for people to come together, “build community, connect and feel at home.” That became Josie’s Coffee Shoppe, which opened in May 2020.
“I always had these ideas of creating space more than having a coffee shop or restaurant or anything like that,” said Piazza. “It was more about creating space where people would want to gather and be and spend time.”
Josie’s Coffee Shoppe is named after Piazza’s grandmother, Joyce, or Josie, as her grandfather called her. In 1965, Piazza’s grandfather bought property in Saugerties that has served as a destination for the family ever since.
“Saugerties was really important and special to him that everybody came here,” said Piazza. “It was because of that that my extended family is very close.”
Having a coffee shop with a full menu wasn’t necessarily Piazza’s plan. However, when her customers asked for it, she delivered. The pastries are purchased from local bakeries in Leeds and Cairo. Her first in-house addition were homemade scones. The menu grew from there, with overnight oats, BLTs, bacon, egg and cheeses and more. One fan favorite is the Brooklyn Girl sandwich, named after Piazza’s roots, which has sopressata, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, greens, tomato and balsamic glaze on Italian bread. Another popular sandwich is The Upstater, with fig jam, brie and greens on ciabatta.
The extensive drink menu includes everything from a honey lavender vanilla latte to a dirty chai to Japanese Sencha tea.
Piazza also carries jewelry, candles, mirrors, and other such items, as well as foodstuffs like maple syrup and granola.
Self-proclaimed coffee shop connoisseur Jazmine Russell said Josie’s is one of her favorites. She’s been coming weekly since the store first opened last spring, calling it her go-to place now.
“The vibe of it is designed so beautifully,” said Russell who was enjoying a matcha latte. “There is something about the design and the life of a place that really allows me to access different parts of myself. I can sit here and work for hours or hang out and chat with a friend.”
Russell commended Piazza for accommodating different dietary needs, including gluten-free options.
Newer customer Kayleigh Stock said the “cozy, aesthetically beautiful” space is just what she was looking for in a place to get some work done.
“It’s low-key and also offers spaciousness,” said Stock.
When designing and decorating the store, Piazza created exactly the vibe she would want to see walking into another gathering space. For her, that could be summed up with the word “warmth.” Inside, customers find wood floors, sun-soaked seating, plants, locally-sourced wood tables and rugs from Piazza’s recent trip to Morocco.
Contributing to the tight-knit community Piazza hopes to create, the store offers a pay-it-forward program that allows customers to purchase an additional coffee for the next customer.
“I feel like I’ve already created a sense of community here,” said Piazza. “There’s people who come in and work all the time that are here every day.”
Josie’s Coffee Shoppe is located at 174 Partition Street and is open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.