Gregorys and a Tale of Two Penns

I rarely drink more than one cup of coffee a day. That is one cup of coffee, purchased in the morning, to be savored over the next half an hour or so. It is a big part of what made me a coffee snob: letting that first sip roll over the tongue will either awake a sense of vindication at the taste of a flavorful and smooth brew, or, more frequently, disappointment in a gritty, bitter brew roasted past its prime.

For me a great coffee shop isn’t just a cafe that can serve up a delicious cup of coffee, but one that can serve up a delicious cup of coffee every day. In fact the better a cup of coffee is one day, the more painful it is days later when the same cup of coffee ordered at the same location doesn’t live up to the same standard. The day’s coffee is ruined. Me angry.

For a while I was traveling out to New Jersey on a daily basis, and the trip from New York Penn Station to Newark Penn Station was taking me by Gregorys Coffee. Starbucks and Pret aside, Gregorys may be the most ubiquitous coffee shop in New York. What it lacks in apostrophe, it more than makes up for in simplicity. Each location has a warm feel, with drip, espresso, AeroPress and other clever coffee concoctions available. But even more important- while it may not be the best cup of coffee in New York, it’s always great. In fact, ordering their drip coffee, I cannot remember a single time when that wasn’t the case.

When you are drinking only one cup of coffee a day you can guarantee a great tasting coffee when you go to Greg.

And if you’re at Gregory’s near Penn Station, think about hopping the Northeast Corridor out to Newark Penn Station. Newark has a rich history full of culture and violence and cuisine and confusion. Once you disembark from Newark Penn Station you’re only a few steps away from a vibrant Portuguese community that has setup shops, cafes and, perhaps most importantly, restaurants in its Ironbound Neighborhood. Iberia is one of the most well-known culinary experiences offering an excellent paella among other options. Teixiera’s is a nice cozy bakery close by as well that offers some delicious goods. Brazil, the linguistic cousin of Portugal, has a presence in the area as well with Churrascarias and other Brazilian food to match.

Just make sure to get your coffee beforehand as Newark is a coffee desert. Dunkin Donuts and Zarro’s dominate the landscape. Even a recent addition to the neighborhood, Busy Bee Roasters, offers several underwhelming varieties of bean despite being freshly roasted locally.

Afterwards I took a walk along the renovated Riverfront Park. It is framed along the Passaic River and offers plenty of nice views on your way back to the train station to New York, and the next adventure there!

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