Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Food Dudes: J. René offers a warm space with delicious coffee


The Food Dudes have recently been reminiscing on their days abroad in Barcelona. Their favorite part of the day was sitting in a café for hours in the afternoon, watching the passersby and enjoying their cappuccinos. Since they’ve been back at Trinity they’ve realized cafes or coffee shops are what’s missing in this city—or there are just not enough of them. They aren’t talking about Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, no—they mean the real deal: lightly dimmed rooms with community styled tables, and of course, the comfy couches to nestle in with a good book.

For all of you out there who are looking for a cozy nook, other than the Underground, we have found just the place. Take a moment out of your day to escape to J. René. Located in West Hartford, it stands on Park Road, right across from Quaker Diner and A Little Something Bakery. J. René is a beautifully serene café. It is an intimate space, displaying their collection of coffee roasters, afterburners and profile roasters. This display shows their customers how fresh their coffee is. All of their coffee is made from these roasters and their smaller profile roaster is specifically meant to experiment with new flavors.

The interior design of the café is modernly sophisticated. With chic lighting structures dangling at different heights from the ceiling and rich mahogany floors, a calm vibe emanates from the room. The community styled counters and tables encourage socializing. Smaller tables with stainless steel-esque chairs are conducive to informal meetings or friendly get-togethers. The counter faces the front of the store and the window outside. Currently, there is a colorful view of the autumn leaves falling off the trees. Behind the counter, is a contemporary set-up. There are two black screens representing the menu in a typewriter block font. All of their coffee instruments are visible, making it an interactive experience for the customer.

J. René is named after the owner of the coffee shop, José René Martinez Onofre. Having a Puerto Rican background, coffee is a huge part of his culture. In opening this shop a little over a year ago, he has been able to bring the social aspect of a café to the Hartford community.

The menu is simple and classic. It is authentic without a doubt, offering the most original coffee for true coffee lovers. They have a few different house blends, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, macchiatos and Italian sodas. They also offer a small variety of sweet treats, which vary day to day. These treats include: apple-walnut bread, biscottis, and even traditional French macaroons. Each of us ordered a cappuccino just like the old days in Barcelona. Sophie had hers with soymilk, while Georgina went with the standard option of regular milk. Both girls were satisfied with their warm beverage on a chilly fall day.

J. René is open Monday thru Thursday 7am-6pm, Friday 7am-9pm, Saturday 7am-6pm, and Sunday 7am-3pm. Come stop by and grab yourself a cup of coffee or bring your books for a quiet place to study. Customers also have the opportunity to purchase to-go bags of their many flavors of coffee beans brought from Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Guatemala to name a few. Especially in the coming winter months, J. René can be the perfect place for your daily coffee buzz.

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