It makes sense that baristas are often plugged into the most interesting things in any community. Paul Cali of Cafe Volan (510 Bangs Ave., Asbury Park) shared some thoughts with us about life in and around Asbury Park.

Perfect local bar?
I think the perfect bars in our area are the beach front bars. The beach is my favorite place to be so any chance to be there I will take it. Watermark is probably my favorite spot in town. The rooftop bar is perfect on a nice night. and if it’s chilly or wet or whatever, the huge windows inside keep that feel.

Most relaxing night out?
The days i’m happiest hanging at home. . . in the hammock on the porch with my friends and some records. In fact i just came in from one of those relaxing nights.


Favorite Jersey Shore building/architecture?
The Casino and Convention Hall never cease to amaze me. The design and construction and placement just makes for an amazing sight (even in their current states). These were built with pride and you can feel it. The best example is the under sea scene of a crab and shell and seaweed at the top of the huge cement pillars on the casino. I love it.

Your ideal breakfast or lunch spot on a day off?
Franks never fails when you’re in the mood for a good greasy spoon. I’ve spent countless mornings there by now, but these days I’m eating healthier so I’ve been spending more time having smoothies, lunch or brunch at From Seed To Sprout in Avon.

Best Jersey Shore pizza?
Porta is always great. . . but to me I need a good greasy slice coming from a cardboard box. TJ’s on Main is good and Luigi’s as well.


Best place to see art?
Gotta love the Parlor Gallery for doing what they’ve been doing for so long. I recently went to Torche’ Gallerie in Belmar and was thoroughly impressed.

Favorite grocery store/market or other local shop?
Wegman’s late at night, any earlier is pure chaos.

Favorite Jersey Shore kitsch experience?
Other than the typical Bruce Springsteen encounters? European Bruce fans stopping me to take a picture of the “Tramps Like Us” tattoo I have on my chest is up there (happens at least once a summer).

What books or magazines are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading back issues of the Surfer’s Journal and a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway.

Favorite Pandora station to play at work?
Prefer to make playlists on my iPod or maybe Spotify. I’ve got music for every mood and weather. Lately it’s the Beach Boys, Roxy Music, Gary U.S. Bonds, Widower, Tommy James and the Shondells, and Fugazi.


Bike or Car?
Bike of course. Keeps things fun and keeps you young!

What would make Asbury even more livable?
Patience. If everyone would remember we’re still growing it would help. Not very long ago this town was falling apart around us. I’ve watched it change almost my whole life. I hear a lot about what Asbury “needs” but I think what we’ve got right now is amazing and only getting better.

Favorite little-known local history fact?
The cross on the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove was repaired as a gift from Woody Allen after filming Stardust Memories.

Any coffee mentor/s?
My brother Rich got me into coffee. We always push each other even though he lives in Austin. And I’m always learning from my friends in the industry like Mark Hundley, Teresa von Fuchs, Simon Uuderkirk and so many others.


Most preposterous customer request?
AA batteries.

If you could tell your customers one thing about coffee that you wish they knew, what would it be?
Coffee is fun. It’s incredibly complex and when you take the time to appreciate it beyond a vehicle for caffeine it really is fun. Invest some money in a burr grinder and quality beans. Invest some time to appreciate whats in your cup.

What are the best tips for making coffee at home?
Use filtered water (use bottled water if you have to) and throw out your Keurig. Seriously, get rid of it.

What’s your favorite/least favorite drink to make?
I love making a cappuccino; rich and creamy and the perfect ratio of milk to coffee (I think). There’s nothing better than that perfectly dialed espresso shot either. I don’t have a least favorite drink but I sure don’t love using soy milk.


What projects are keeping you busy when not making coffee?
I love photography. Everyday I’ve got a camera loaded with film ready to go. I upload them to a blog ( that gets no traffic. Lately I’ve been publishing small runs of photo zines and I’m going to be publishing a book through my brother’s art collective in Austin, Texas this summer.

Photos by: Nick Kiefer

David Spelman is an artistic director, curator, music producer and Ocean Grove resident. He enjoys cycling, yoga, coffee, and generally encouraging creative dialogue across disciplines and barstools.

One Response to “PAUL CALI // CAFE VOLAN”

  1. Paul Fredericks says:

    This kid was an idiot in college…hard to believe he can make a cup of java.

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