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Local Nonprofit and Coffee Chain Team Up to Open Cafe in Essex Crossing

By Lisha Arino | October 13, 2015 6:00pm | Updated on October 13, 2015 6:55pm
 A rendering for Think Grand Cafe, slated to open on Delancey Street as part of Essex Crossing in late 2017 or early 2018.
A rendering for Think Grand Cafe, slated to open on Delancey Street as part of Essex Crossing in late 2017 or early 2018.
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Dattner Architects

LOWER EAST SIDE — A new café that will provide job training for teens and young adults while directly benefiting a local nonprofit is slated to open in Essex Crossing in the next few years.

Think Grand Café — which is expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018 — will be a collaboration between Grand Street Settlement and Think Coffee, as first reported by The Lo-Down.

The café will be located on Site 6 of the 1.9-million-square-foot development, with its entrance facing Broome Street. Essex Crossing is expected to create a mix of commercial and residential spaces, including 500 affordable housing units.

Like Think Coffee’s multiple locations in Manhattan and South Korea, Think Grand Café will serve sustainably sourced coffee. But it will be owned and operated by Grand Street Settlement, which will use all the net proceeds to help fund its programs.

“This will be a nonprofit café operating with the quality and flair of a successful for-profit café in one of the most competitive markets anywhere,” said Think Coffee owner Jason Scherr in a statement.

Grand Street Settlement's executive director Robert Cordero said the nonprofit hopes to train about 50 teenagers and young adults each year, teaching them barista and basic culinary skills, as well as more transferable lessons like punctuality and how to behave in a professional setting.

The trainees — who will come from Grand Street’s programs in the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, as well as sister settlement programs — will also have a case manager to help them access social services if they need it.

“It’s really an enriched job training program for youth and young adults that might have trouble getting that first job or sticking with it,” Cordero told DNAinfo New York.

Cordero also hopes the 2,500-square-foot space will function as a community center where locals can gather and artists can showcase their work, he said, adding that the settlement has reached out to local arts and cultural institutions about programming.

“We really do think that this is going to wind up being great for the neighborhood and we hope that it will become a cultural and tourist destination on top being a neighborhood kind of place so that people really have a place to go where it’s authentic Lower East Side,” he said.

Think Grand Café is the latest tenant to announce its move into the massive development, joining a 22,000-square-foot Planet Fitness, 14-screen Regal Cinemas multiplex and Splitsville Luxury Bowling.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is also in talks to move into Essex Crossing, its director said earlier this month.