If you’re in need of a java fix, Greenpoint has plenty of cute coffee shops scattered throughout the neighborhood. But finding one that is both dog-friendly and next to a bookshop might be a challenge. Filling this void is newcomer Clever Blend (142 Nassau Ave.), a locally-owned independent coffee shop. Clever Blend is neighbors with the recently opened Leaves Bookstore and has another location in Park Slope.
Clever Blend is a family-owned business. Owners Nadia and Karolina run the two coffee shops, and their husbands help out. “Karolina and myself handle most of the daily operations while our husbands take care of the general maintenance of the stores,” said Nadia.
The small chain has been in business since 2007 with three locations before the pandemic, including one in Williamsburg. Unfortunately, Nadia and Karolina lost the Williamsburg and Long Island City locations during this tough time. “It was a very painful experience especially because we have basically built each location with our own hands,” said Nadia.
Clever Blend is “steeped in Italian coffee culture” according to the shop’s website. The site goes on to say that “unlike the mega-chains, we pay close attention to our products’ sourcing, and we are very passionate about creating craft beverages. Our Beans are Fair Trade and Organic, whenever possible.”
Clever Blend’s small Greenpoint shop sells the traditional selection of coffee and espresso drinks, like cortados, lattes, and cappuccinos. They also serve up specialty drinks like the Coconut Cold Brew, which Nadia told Greenpointers has been a huge success since its introduction in 2017. Also popular with Clever Blend regulars is the Hangover, which is a Cold Brew shaken with Italian espresso, plant based milk and vanilla.
Clever Blend’s House Blend is also incredibly popular and has not changed since 2007. “We tried to offer different drip options in the past, but people love our House Blend too much,” said Nadia. The coffeeshop also serves pastries and is planning to add more savory items soon.
Clever Blend will be a hit with dog owners in the neighborhood. The shop sells what Nadia calls “the best dogs treats you can find.” The biscuits, called No Bones About It, are sweet potato-based and low in fat and high in fiber and antioxidants. The treats are made by a bakery near Clever Blend’s Park Slope location and were certified by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR – Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“We are happy to say that the Greenpoint community has embraced us since the opening,” said Nadia warmly. Co-owner Karolina grew up in Greenpoint, and that was one of the main reasons they decided to open in the neighborhood.
“As you can understand when you open a new small business things can go bad pretty quickly, especially now that because of the pandemic people have changed their daily routines, but so far so good. We are hitting the right numbers fortunately,” said Nadia.