Vanessa Piazza grew up in Brooklyn, but weekends and vacations were for her grandfather’s home up in Saugerties, where the aunts, uncles, and cousins all came together in good times and bad.
“Had this place never existed, we would not have had such a close-knit family,” she writes on her Josie’s Coffee Shoppe website. “As a child, of course we never see the value in these things. As an adult I couldn’t be more thankful to this man for creating this place.” As an adult, Vanessa was a traveler: After she hit a wall of exhaustion in the Manhattan retail world, she packed her bags and went off to Europe, then to Central and South America. She spent a year away, letting a series of adventures sweep her into new revelations about how she wanted to live her life.
“When I returned to New York I realized that I had become a different person,” Vanessa says. “I had changed, but nothing around me had. Things were the same, but I wasn't. I kept spending more and more time up at my family's home here in Saugerties. Within a few months I had found myself in Saugerties permanently.” During her travels, and on returning home, one yearning kept nagging at her. “Create space,” it whispered. She wasn’t even certain entirely what sort of space she was meant to create, but the urge felt very real.
“The coffee is delicious and the detail from decor to desserts, the curated shop and friendly service will keep us coming back even if we have to plan a whole trip around it.”
“I didn't know what that meant for a long time—did I need to create space for myself or for others? The answer was both! So that's what I did, and this space was created to make others feel what I wanted to feel when I walked in.” Vanessa sensed that her beloved adopted town would love the kind of space she had in mind. Josie’s Coffee Shoppe, named for Vanessa’s beloved grandmother, opened to the public on May 15, 2020, as a place to grab coffee and pastry. Saugertesians rejoiced at the offerings, but with other businesses temporarily or permanently closing, Vanessa saw a need for something more. “We now have a full menu of breakfast and lunch,” she says. “It has helped the business grow and evolve into something I wasn't expecting.” Breakfast offerings range from gluten-free rolled oats with berries and maple syrup to omelets; for lunch, you can grab a BLT, a honey turkey club, or The Upstater (fig jam, Brie, and greens on ciabatta) among other tasty options.
People feel lots of good things stepping into Josie’s. The bare wood tables, white walls, wooden slab floor, colorful area rugs, and brick fireplace wall lend a cozy, clean, and cheerful Moroccan-inspired vibe. All the little touches are done right.
“My goal is to continue to share this space with the community and allow it to be a place where people come to gather for many, many years.”
“I stopped by for a London Fog (Harney's tea) and a scone,” writes a Yelp reviewer. “I appreciated that they offered oat milk, and to be able to have it in a lovely ceramic cup. The space indoors is well-designed—spacious and cozy at the same time. I could definitely see myself visiting again and bringing a book to read. They also sell a few items from local artisans. Just a lovely place for a tea (or coffee) and a pastry.”
Breakfast offerings range from gluten-free rolled oats with berries and maple syrup to omelets; for lunch, you can grab a BLT, a honey turkey club, or The Upstater (fig jam, Brie, and greens on ciabatta) among other tasty options.
“The coffee is delicious and the detail from decor to desserts, the curated shop and friendly service will keep us coming back even if we have to plan a whole trip around it,” writes another happy visitor from out of town. Vanessa’s grandfather passed away a year before the shop opened, but to her joy, he lived long enough to see her getting settled in Saugerties. Now, the warmth and welcome at Josie’s Coffee Shoppe serves as her monument to him. A real place, a place where people can relax, read, have long, meandering conversations over a mocha latte or a dirty chai.
“The owner's travels inspired the overall look and feel, and the sophisticated yet unpretentious style is a win for everyone who is lucky enough to walk in.”
“My goal is to continue to share this space with the community and allow it to be a place where people come to gather for many, many years,” she says. “I also hope to expand and offer more social and private events. Maybe a second location in time as well.” That’s great news for Saugerties. “The owner's travels inspired the overall look and feel, and the sophisticated yet unpretentious style is a win for everyone who is lucky enough to walk in,” writes a reviewer. So stop in anytime you could use a win: After all, isn’t that every day?
josie’s coffee shoppe
174 Partition Street, Saugerties