The twinkling of the hanging lights, greenery galore, and Instagram-worthy coffee creations—it’s all a winning recipe for Batch, the downtown Manasquan coffee shop newly launched by our NJMOMpreneurs of the Week, Christine Kedves and Kelly Staszczak. The local shore-area mamas, who both have backgrounds in the restaurant industry, wanted to create a neighborhood coffee shop that exuded warmth and explored interesting flavors (the Iced Reishi and Beet Root Latte are two crowd faves). What they didn’t anticipate was opening their new business during a global pandemic. If you caught our recent Instagram LIVE with this duo, you know how full of passion they are for what they’ve created and how they’ve been able to weave their families into their business. We caught up with them to talk about how they adapted when COVID threw a curveball into their opening plans, what the whole process has taught their kids, and their menu must-orders when you visit.
You’re new in town and have already become known for being a tasty, creative take on a neighborhood coffee shop. Tell us about how you were inspired to open Batch together.
Kelly: Christine has owned restaurants, and I have worked in and managed coffee shops for the past 17 years. When we became friends about a year and a half ago, we were both facing a crossroads in our life. We thought since we were great friends, we could also be amazing business partners. We feel fortunate that we were both willing to take the risk.
Christine: I wanted to open up a place I could call my own, and once I saw the spot on Main Street, it just felt right. I asked Kelly if she would be willing to take a leap of faith and partner in this venture, and luckily she said yes.
Kelly: When we found this space, Batch became an open canvas—everything just began to flow from there.
Opening a new business during a pandemic is certainly not for the faint of heart. How has COVID affected your plans, and how has it been adapting as the situation continues to change?
Christine: COVID quickly left a dark cloud over everything. The country had shut down just a couple weeks right after we signed the lease. I think everyone, myself included, had real concerns about small businesses and how we might be able to survive. And we hadn’t even opened, so you can imagine our worry. We adapted by going with the flow and not fighting the things we couldn’t change. There were delays along the way, but we just made peace with the situation as best we could.
Kelly: I have to admit it was very scary. We had no idea what business would be like once we opened our doors, and it’s been busier than we ever expected.
Some of your drinks and pastries are truly beautiful as well as delicious and nutritious (we have a crush on the Blue Butterfly Pea Latte). Where do you get the inspiration for your recipes?
Christine: We wanted to lead with quality and presentation. With that, we took all of our ideas that we had been archiving and created a menu that we hoped would be special, as well as surprise and delight customers. We carefully thought out every menu item. We also have to give a shoutout to our pastry chef, Dan Felicetta, for his help. He is incredibly talented, and we can’t say enough how much we appreciate his creativity and passion for baking. We are so lucky to have him on staff.
Kelly: Our kids were an inspiration for a lot of our ideas. Each of the drinks on our Sparkler menu is named after them and has their fave ingredients included.
What do you think opening your business has taught your children, particularly given the timing of everything?
Kelly: I believe it has shown them gratitude. They saw us during the highs and lows because there was a lot of pressure and not much sleep. But they were a huge helping hand along the way, and now can be a part of all the good things that happened as a result.
Christine: I hope it has taught my kids that everything always works out. Life never hands you anything you aren’t capable of figuring out, and hard things can lead to big rewards.
What are each of your favorite items on your menu, and why?
Christine: Oh, it’s hard to choose because my favorites seem to change every few weeks. The Iced Reishi is terrific. We call it our guiltless mocha—it’s Reishi mushroom powder combined with unsweetened cacao and honey, with oat milk, over ice.
Kelly: I love the Purist. It’s a golden milk latte with coconut milk and a touch of our local honey—the perfect mix of little spicy and sweet.
Tell us about other local shore-area businesses you support and what you love about them.
Christine: Findings in Manasquan is a jewelry shop that happens to be owned by a friend of mine, Joanna Madden. She is such a talent, and her store perfectly reflects her aesthetic. She incorporates vintage pieces into all her designs.
Kelly: We both love Qua right down the street in Manasquan. It’s such a fantastic family-run restaurant with the most delicious pizza and the kind of place where they make everything with love.
What do you wish you knew a year ago about being a mompreneur?
Christine: I would say, take your time with it all. When we first purchased the hanging lights for space, we had no idea we had to screw in each lightbulb, one by one individually. So “one lightbulb at a time” has become our mantra for the approach we take with everything at Batch. Through it all, we’ve found that we make such a good team, and you can have the best of both worlds—friendship and business partners.
Kelly: I’m glad that a year ago, we had no idea of the blessing that Batch would become. It has made all the hard work that much more rewarding.