In my recent post about exploring new coffee shops away from home, I neglected to mention one place in particular. Not a problem, as it’s deserving of its own story.
The name Eric LeGrand may jog your memory; if you are of a particular age and from New Jersey, you definitely know his story. A Garden State native, LeGrand played football at Rutgers until he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a 2010 game which left him paralyzed. His fight to recover, build a new life, and help others has been a tremendous inspiration.
Among his many endeavors, LeGrand founded a coffee business, LeGrand Coffee House, which began life in 2021 as a single-origin roaster, and in May 2022 opened a bricks and mortar café in LeGrand’s hometown of Woodbridge, New Jersey. They encourage people to have a “Daily Cup of bELieve,” the last word one that LeGrand has used in his philanthropy and the title of his autobiography.
A friend was kind enough to give me a bag of LeGrand Coffee House beans last year, and I really enjoyed them. I recently popped by the café on a drive through the Garden State to check it out. Part of a new mixed-use development near the Woodbridge commuter rail station, the shop is big, airy, and welcoming, with lots of coffee motifs in the design mix. It would have been easy to overload it with pictures, tchotchkes and paraphernalia celebrating LeGrand’s football career and life, and all things Rutgers football, but the shop is tasteful and that kind of approach was restrained. Your drink will be made on a gorgeous, fire-engine red (or should I say Rutgers red) LaMarzocco.
It would be easy to recommend LeGrand Coffee House solely due to the man behind it, but that would do an injustice to their coffee. Strip the name and backstory away and you still have a beautiful shop making great coffee and serving delicious pastries (not a big scones guy but mine was top notch). My macchiato was served in a regular sized coffee cup, rather than a demitasse, but no matter. Nice layered flavors, with just a touch of foam, made and served by friendly people. Can’t ask for much more than that.
I highly recommend, should you find yourself near the junction of the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, that you stop by to get yourself a cup of bELieve.
LeGrand Coffee House
10 Green Street