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Belmont Beans a big hit at Cedar Crest

On-campus restaurants becoming ‘culinary destinations’

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March 28th, 2014
Belmont Beans, located in Cedar Crest’s Belmont Clubhouse, serves Starbucks coffee, including the milder Veranda Blend Blonde roast. Barrister Jason Abels serves up a cup of joe.
Belmont Beans, located in Cedar Crest’s Belmont Cl

There’s something comforting about the smell of freshly brewed coffee. 

People living at Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains, N.J., don’t have to go far for that heartwarming aroma. A new coffee bar just opened in the Belmont Clubhouse. Serving Starbucks coffee and an array of delicious pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, and artisan coffee drinks, the Belmont Beans is the new hot spot on campus.

Catering to customers

Distinguishing itself from Starbucks-licensed stores and the convenience market next door, Belmont Beans focuses on healthier food items and will start offering fresh blended fruit smoothies this summer. 

“We’re pretty excited about Starbucks being our partner coffee vendor. We provide and make all the food in house,” says Ed Wang, Cedar Crest’s new director of dining services and a Seattle native.

Belmont Beans sells Starbucks’ Blonde roast and Seattle’s Best coffee in addition to Starbucks’ traditionally strong blend. “Starbucks coffee tends to be a very bold, robust roast, so we’re offering the milder Blonde roast and Seattle’s Best coffee, which is now owned by Starbucks, to appeal to our customers,” Wang says. 

The opening of the coffee bar comes in tandem with the renovation of the entire lobby area of the Belmont Clubhouse, which took place in February and March. 

Rethinking restaurants

Adjacent to Belmont Beans, the convenience market got a complete redesign, too. “It’s more like an open-air market now, with a warm, welcoming feeling,” Wang says. “We’ve added an Internet café with some computer kiosks, too, so the whole area has received a complete makeover.”

Wang says the renovations are part of a larger plan to rebrand Cedar Crest’s dining department. “My goal is for Cedar Crest to be recognized as the top culinary community in Erickson Living—a center of excellence,” he says. “We’re trying to build more destination-style, theme-style restaurants.”

One of those restaurants has already been renovated both on and off the menu—the Village Café. With a signature burger that’s the “biggest hit of the community right now,” the café offers sizzling salads (think fresh mixed greens topped with dried cranberries, sugared walnuts, avocado, and aged blue cheese), signature burgers (including Guinness-cheddar burger with caramelized onions on brioche), and grilled sandwiches (like the grilled chicken breast on a charred Portuguese roll with pesto mayo, baby arugula, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers).

Later this year, the bistro, in Woodland Commons, will receive a makeover as well. “We’re turning it into an authentic Italian eatery with brick oven pizza, an antipasto bar, and a gelato bar,” Wang says. “And we’re still focusing on healthier options.”

Next year, residents can expect renovations to the Oak Room Restaurant, located in the Belmont Clubhouse, and another signature menu.

With each renovation, expect more chef specialties; a warm, comforting atmosphere; and signature dishes rather than a plethora of rotating menu items. 

“Our chefs are culinary-trained and very talented,” Wang says. “By focusing on quality over quantity, our residents can really appreciate the chefs’ talents.”

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