By Jeannette Brodeur, SNH Editor
After a four-alarm fire devastated and closed the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, what members said they missed most was a sense of home...a community.
The fire forced the entire organization to pause, reassess, realign and strengthen its goals to offer a new space that offers a warm sense of welcome to the entire community.
In January, the newly revitalized JCC campus opens with a fresh, new layout, welcoming design and a whole new mindset to match.
The JCC is a destination, a place to linger before and after workouts, classes or cultural programs, a spot to share a meal, chat with friends and stay a while.
This attitude is reflected in the JCC’s exciting new Café 360, which is set to open in mid-January.
Custom cabinetry, stone-surfaced countertops and subway tiles create a modern, welcoming vibe in the café with an expanded seating area boasting banquettes and bar height stools as well as traditional seating.
Improved WiFi, plentiful outlets for phone charging and computers and great coffee make Café 360 the perfect spot for meeting friends or for telecommuters to stop and grab a coffee and catch up on work.
The name Café 360 doesn’t merely signify the JCC’s address on Amity Road. After the fire, Café 360 also symbolizes the JCC coming full circle, returning home again.
“We hope that Café 360 will be just that - a meeting place where people truly feel at home,” said Judy Alperin, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.
The new café will be overseen by Abel Caterers, a family-owned company that has offered exceptional kosher cuisine to the Northeast for more than 30 years. Abels looks forward to providing the best possible customer experience along with thoughtful menu selections.
Café 360 will be a true, diverse food marketplace, offering everything from artisan coffees, smoothies, New York bagels, sandwiches and pastries to sushi, holiday specialties, challah and catered Shabbat dinners to go. All offerings will be strictly kosher, with a dairy or vegetarian focus, to ensure that everyone in our community feels welcome.
Alperin noted that many local vendors are represented in this new marketplace concept, which further strengthens the sense of community at the new JCC.
Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea will be served at the cafe. The freshly roasted and ground, small batch, unique coffees are custom blended to appeal to every palate.
Barry Levine, co-founder of Willoughby’s, has served as a pro bono consultant for the JCC throughout the process of creating Café 360, assisting with the marketplace layout, sourcing the equipment and training the staff. Willoughby’s delicious coffee will also be available for all JCC events and conferences.
Abel’s will serve its popular signature soups. Cookies and baked goods are provided by Sweet Seidner’s Bake Shop and Revi’s Food will prepare fresh, unique and flavorful Middle Eastern and Mediterranean salads.
More than just a spot to eat, Cafe 360 will serve as a true gathering place, a resource for the whole community.
The marketplace concept reflects the vibrant, welcoming and innovative environment that the JCC has created throughout the campus with new fitness programs, updated equipment, new creative spaces, full-service business center, and expanded cultural classes and activities. The new JCC is THE place to be...a true home away from home.