It makes sense that baristas are often plugged into the most interesting things in any community. Sara Mattiace of Porta (911 Kingsley Street, Asbury Park) shared some thoughts with us about life in and around Asbury Park. 

Perfect local bar or place for a beer?

Right now I always go to the Asbury Lanes when its open. I also hear in the near future it will be open seven days a week. My choices for favorite place to have a beer are always ill fated, the first was the Pressroom and the second was the pre-refurbished Annex.

Favorite Jersey Shore building/architecture?

I still always think “holy crap!” when I see the Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake. It must have been glorious and dripping in wealth in its heyday. The carousel building is super special and I wish they would do something clever with it. Like put a carousel in it.

Most relaxing night out?

Well that is a bit of an oxymoron for me. I’m not often out to relax but I’d go with getting a table outside at The Brickwall and have a chat with everyone that comes by!

Your ideal breakfast or lunch spot on a day off?

Seed to Sprout! Especially if I have a hangover. I’m quite into the Dizzy Dame sandwich over at The Speakeatery.

Best Jersey Shore pizza?

Well I have a bit of a biased opinion as a full time resident of Porta. I feel privileged and spoiled for being able to eat there pretty much everyday.

Best place to see art?

I’ve been impressed with the things going on at Cafe Volan. Also we have a bunch of pieces in our apartment purchased from the Asbury Lanes. which is curated by the girls at Parlor Gallery. Currently I’m torn between no less than 4 things on the walls.

Favorite grocery store/market or other local shop?

I HATE grocery stores. If I need anything in a pinch I pop over to Asbury Farm on Springwood. It’s the only place I don’t feel robbed when I need an onion and three tomatoes. As far as shops go Sweet Joey’s is ace. I actually avoid going in there if I’m strapped for cash because I know I’ll want/NEED something I see.

Favorite Jersey Shore kitch experience?

Previously it would have been Seaside Boardwalk and play skeeball and shoot BB guns but I’m not too sure whats going on down there right now. Now if I’m feeling silly I think about doing a Phoyestercades run in Red Bank.. Which everyone knows is going to Pho Le to eat and then around the corner to play all your favorite old-timey games at YesterCades!

What books or magazines are you currently reading?

I’ve only ever had a subscription to National Geographic which I read cover to cover every month. The last book I read was Endgame by Derrick Jensen. I’m not a light reader.

What music are you listening to these days?

Since the death of all my digital music I grab the old CD binder for the car and usually have late 90’s punk/hardcore going. Avail, The Explosion, Dillinger 4 and the like. More currently I’ve been into solo stuff from folks from my favorite bands. Ben Nichols from Lucero, Dave Hause from The Loved Ones and Tim Barry from Avail.

Bike or Car?

Bike! Somehow it takes me less time to get to work with the bike than with the car. Also I will NEVER pay for parking.

Any coffee mentor/s?

The boys at Cafe Volan! Latte art drives me crazy and they never cease to amaze. My husband Lewis is also always there to troubleshoot any of my coffee frustrations.

Most preposterous customer request?

Nothing really crazy. But I’m waiting for someone to ask for a kids menu.

If you could tell your customers one thing about coffee that you wish they knew, what would it be?

That Starbucks lingo works great in Starbucks. And doesn’t work at all anywhere else.

What’s your favorite/least favorite drink to make?

I love making Macchiatos but no one really orders them from me. I also enjoy making cappuccinos with obscene latte art for my coworkers. Ha! I hate making anything decaf.

Where did you live before Asbury Park, and what brought you here?

I went from living in Philadelphia to being in Barcelona for 5 years. It’s such an unexplainably chaotic whirlwind of a place that after the economy forced us out I thought retiring back at the Jersey Shore where I have roots would be a relief. And Asbury/Ocean Grove would be the only suitable transition from living a very urban lifestyle.

What projects are keeping you busy when not making coffee?

Always on the prowl for new tunes for DJ-ing, pretending I still do a lot of photography, and taking care of the pets (dog, cats, husband).

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.

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