When the windows at Fair Haven's Java Stop became blanketed with makeshift brown packaging paper shades and the coffee was no longer on in the morning, townies and lovers of a good cup of Joe started foaming at the mouth like a latte machine.
While the area between the two small peninsula boroughs of Rumson and Fair Haven is saturated with standard morning coffee klatch stops, each has his or her own habitual stop.
Not only did the roughly decade-old staple Java Stop close its doors and cut off a morning brew option, but Gourmet Picnic, a couple blocks away on River Road, shut down, too.
Creatures of habit, the small-town fans of both places have found themselves looking for a replacement place to stop for coffee. And there's not all bad news on the horizon with the two places gone.
Everyone knows that Java Stop will be taken over by Booskerdoo, a reputable coffee cafe with premium on-premise roasted beans. "If you haven't been, you should stop at their Monmouth Beach shop," Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.
The mayor also pointed out that Java Stop regulars needn't be upset by the store's closing, as it was owner Bob Henry's choice.
"He'd been wanting to sell the business," Lucarelli said. "He just moved on. That's all. Bob has always done a lot of different things. He initially left banking to open the shop so he could be more available for his kids. Now he's just onto something else. But it's all good, because it's still a coffee business that's going there and a very good one at that. It's a success story for both."
Lucarelli said that the Booskerdoo owners, James and Amelia Caverly, bought the Java Stop business from Henry and negotiated another lease with the owner of the building, who he did not name.
The Gourmet Picnic had been for sale for some time. It looks like Balderose Fine Foods Market will be moving into the spot. River Road Books, on its Facebook page, has welcomed the coming addition to the business district: "We are so excited to welcome our new neighbors! They are sure to be a great addition to the block! Can't wait to try their food." No date on the arrival yet, but watch for a story on the place.
Booskerdoo will open its doors in March sometime. However, Amelia is due to have a baby around then as well, so a firm date has not been set.
In the meantime, where will the displaced Java Stop and Gourmet Picnic coffee loyalists go to get in some morning chatter and a good cup of brew.
All the way down River Road, from Rumson through Fair Haven, there are several quality java and good company stops to be stopped in on.
From East River Road, there's . Many have enjoyed conversation and java there for a long time, not to mention a good sandwich.
Across the way from Locals is Cups & Cakes, with great coffee and their signature babycakes.
Then there's Brennan's, the place that's known for a good cup of coffee and townie talk to start the day, not to mention the sandwiches. It's been a Rumson staple stop-off for a very long time and it's a favorite of Mayor John Ekdahl's.
And lest we forget longtime Fair Haven spot Fairwinds Deli, where people meet up all day long and embibe in good eats and drinks from coffee time to after school. Patch even caught R-FH favorite science and ballroom dance teacher George Giffin there one day.
Down the road is Tavolo Pronto, where fresh latte, espresso and regular coffee is brewing all day long and the homemade dessert, lunch and dinner treats are consistently talked about as tasty.
And newer in town is J. Rooster's, where native Fair Havenite owner Jeremy Haney pledges a bottomless pit cup of good Joe and a neighborhood atmosphere to boast.
Each place has its own charm and good quality food and coffee; and most people in both towns have been to any one at one time or another. Where do you prefer to go to sip, sit and enjoy the conversation?
And, if you were a Java Stop or Gourmet Picnic purist, what's your top choice now? Tell us. And tell us if we've inadvertently left any shop out.