The owners of Bayonne, New Jersey’s latest café offering – Clutch Moto – hope to bring a little bit of their native ‘Cali’ vibe to the area, and to the local motorcycle community as a whole, when they officially open their doors this coming Monday.
Fernando and Kim Castaneda’s concept for a moto-inspired community coffee house has been in the offing for a few years. The couple moved to New Jersey from Los Angeles, CA in 2017 and had official approvals for the new shop – located at 590 Avenue C and previously a pharmacy – well over a year ago.
But they took their time to get things right … that meant choosing a first location that wasn’t already served by an established café, getting to know the local motorcycle community, and designing an environment that felt like a home away from home for the couple, who are currently also expecting their first child.
“We were under the radar for two years as we wanted to make sure we could follow through on the idea,” Fernando says, adding Clutch Moto’s inspirations can be seen in both the café’s menu, and in the interior design of the sleek, modern, yet comfortable space.
Fuel your morning — Rahoul ghose
We were under the radar for two years as we wanted to make sure we could follow through on the idea.
Moto art graces the walls, including selections from illustrators Douglas Thompson (@tempusdeficit) from Connecticut and LA’s Maryia Bulka (@tintabybulka). And the floorspace features the couple’s two custom-built motorcycles, a ’71 Honda CB 350 and a 2006 Triumph Thruxton, as well as couches and table seating.
Specialty coffees draw their names from California moto themes – roads and experiences, Fernando says.
The Mulholland – Mexican cocoa, espresso and milk, and the Angeles Crest – matcha, milk and vanilla, are a tip of the helmet to some popular LA-based twisties. And the Lane Splitter – a take on Vietnamese coffee … infused cold brew and condensed milk – is a taste of the freedom California riders enjoy on their highways and byways. Some day New York … some day.
And then there’s self-named house blend, The Clutch, a strong, almost burnt Mexican-inspired coffee with sugar and cinnamon for those craving a churo-like experience.
"Coffee is universal, a way to get people together," says Kim, also a portrait photographer who shoots the company's marketing and social media images.
Ultimately, Fernando says he and Kim want Clutch Moto to appeal to both the moto community and to locals … families with kids, retirees ... anyone really.
Their food selections include pastries and baked goods from Paramus, New Jersey’s Whos Gluten Free, with all but two of the menu items being vegan and gluten free, to appeal to the widest possible customer base.
A sleek, modern, yet comfortable space — Rahoul Ghose
Coffee is universal, a way to get people together.
Clutch Moto had their first event on the evening of Feb. 28, a soft launch for invited guests, which Kim says was met with great enthusiasm.
And a quick preview of the café’s website show events already being scheduled … sponsored rides, a meet-up for Babes Ride Out East Coast 5 participants in June, and collaborations with The Litas in Central New Jersey, and possibly The Moto Social.
Ultimately, the 20-something couple would like to see Clutch Moto become a hub for events and gatherings. With 48 hours’ notice the venue can pay the city a minimal fee for a sizable portion of street parking, making it ideal for moto meetups.
As of Monday, March 9 – if final inspections go through – Clutch Moto will be open seven days a week from 7 am to 4 pm, Fernando says, but as the summer months arrive look for those hours to expand into the evening, with a second shift added to the schedule.
If this first location is successful, the couple may even look at opening up other shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Kim added.
General menu selections — Rahoul Ghose
You can find Clutch Moto online at officialclutchmoto.com. Follow them on Instagram at @officialclutchmoto and Facebook at officialclutchmoto for upcoming events.