Mobile cafe brings Cafe Kubal coffee to Syracuse area

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Café Kubal has created a coffee shop on wheels to bring coffee and the cafe experience directly to neighborhoods in the city of Syracuse. 

Patio furniture in tow, the mobile cafe set up shop this month in the Strathmore neighborhood and at Sedgwick Farms, serving coffee beans and hot and cold espresso drinks. Customers can request to book the mobile cafe by submitting an online form.

Café Kubal owner Matt Godard and Michael John Heagerty, digital marketing manager, created the mobile cafe from a used coffee roasters truck, wrapping the truck with the cafe’s logo and installing equipment.

Godard wanted to change the format of his business amid the financial downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other local businesses have decided to bring their services directly to customers, he said, and he felt the mobile cafe was necessary for Café Kubal to connect with its patrons.

The mobile cafe allows Café Kubal to have access to spaces where coffee shops would not normally be, Heagerty said.  The cafe attempts to create small-scale coffee shop experiences and serves as a mobile advertising campaign, he said. 

“For us, it’s all about bringing it to the people and having that same quality experience that you can get at any of the current cafe locations,” he said. 

The espresso bar menu at the mobile cafe is similar to what is offered at the physical cafes, only it’s slightly simpler, Godard said.

Meggan Camp, a friend and neighbor of Heagerty’s, ordered a cold brew from the mobile cafe when it came to her neighborhood. Her favorite aspect of the cafe was the opportunity it provided for seeing her friends. She was able to visit her neighbors while maintaining a safe distance, she said.

The mobile cafe also allowed Camp to see friends she previously would have seen on a daily basis while grabbing coffee at a traditional cafe. 

“It was just nice to have something that felt kind of normal,” she said.

Patio furniture is set up six feet apart at the mobile cafe to encourage social distancing, and one chair is provided per table except for family members that have been quarantining together. Tables set up at the back of the truck will serve as a contactless pickup station for orders, Heagerty said. 

Café Kubal implemented home delivery of products such as coffee beans in March, allowing same-day delivery for customers in Onondaga County who order before 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. 

The coffee shop chain has several locations, including the Eastwood and Creekwalk cafes, which reopened for indoor service on Tuesday. These two locations also offer front-door pickup, which began in April for the Eastwood location and May for the Creekwalk location. 

Deciding which cafes would remain open for online ordering depended on viability and safety, Godard said. Café Kubal wanted to have a presence both downtown through the Creekwalk cafe and in a residential area through the Eastwood cafe, he said.

Customers ordering online for front-door pickup can sign up to receive text messages when their order is ready and pick up orders at the door, said Chelsea Colton, who has ordered front-door pickup from the Eastwood location about five times. The mobile cafe also accepts orders in advance from the StreetFoodFinder app. 

After a neighborhood visit is booked, Café Kubal promotes the event on the app and on its social media channels. Then, the mobile cafe heads to the neighborhood and serves coffee over a three-hour window, according to the online booking request form. 

Camp said that the mobile cafe offers the community both great coffee and a place to gather. It brings the experience of a brick-and-mortar cafe to people’s backyards, she said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to come together,” she said. “As time has changed what that looks like for us.”


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