Fancy Coffee Has the South Bronx Talking

Formerly a deteriorating, poverty-stricken area, the South Bronx is now known for its hip-hop culture and its graffiti.  Last week, Birch Coffee opened shop on Hunts Point Avenue, a street characterized by auto shops, bodegas and cheap, variety stores.  It’s hard for Majora Carter to remember the last time Hunts Point had a spot that could serve both the community and its need for creativity.  She is a force of change in this part of New York City.

Ms. Carter collaborated on the café with entrepreneurs Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, who have opened seven Birch shops in New York City.  And they are not the only ones.  Another coffee shop named Filtered Coffee opened a few months ago in Mott Haven, a neighborhood a few stops away on the No. 6 subway.  One of the business partners in Filtered is quoted as saying “Certain businesses come to fill a void in the community”.

Young people priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn are now moving to the Bronx, regarded by some as an up-and-coming neighborhood.  Developer Keith Rubenstein is quoted as saying of Filtered partners Karen Paul and Aaron Baird, “They brought life to a place that was probably a little bit lifeless.”  New York restaurateurs may want to keep the South Bronx on their radars.

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Friday is National Donut Day 2016!!!

The annual epic donut giveaway is almost here!  National Donut Day, also known as “Free Donut Day”, is celebrated on the first Friday in June.

National Donut Day started in 1938 as a fund raiser for The Salvation Army. Their goal was to help those in need during the Great Depression, and to honor The Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served donuts to soldiers.

Soon after the U.S. entrance into World War I in 1917, The Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. The mission concluded that the needs of U.S. enlisted men could be met by “huts” that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service. Typically, six staff members per hut would include four female volunteers who could “mother” the boys. These huts were established by The Salvation Army in the United States near army training centers.

About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near the front lines, the two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing donuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting The Salvation Army huts”.

National Donut Day is celebrated at participating donut seller locations across the country.  Some of the Donut Day offerings include:

Entenmann’s: A total of more than 150,000 donuts will be given away in more than a dozen cities around the country, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Louisville, New Haven, New York City, and San Diego

Krispy Kreme: Every customer gets a choice of any free donut on Friday, June 3, no purchase necessary.

Dunkin Donuts: Get one free donut with the purchase of any beverage

Cumberland Farms: Purchase any coffee or fountain drink between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Friday and take your pick of a free donut.