Home Food + Drink Griot Café: Jersey City’s Tasty Afro-Caribbean Gem

Griot Café: Jersey City’s Tasty Afro-Caribbean Gem

by Danielle Lynch
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Tucked away in the Heights of Jersey City, at 434 Central Avenue, is one of the most quaint little spots in the area. Celebrating its one year anniversary, Griot Café {pronounced “gree-oh”} is a local coffee shop + eatery serving Afro-Caribbean fusion cuisine and ethically sourced coffee. Griot’s story is humble yet proud as five friends, who began as coworkers became a family and built a business filled with laughter, culture, and spice. Read on to find out how Griot Café in Jersey City became the hotspot it is today.


When John, Victor, KG {Kagiso}, and Malick met at Burgiss, a private capital investment research firm, in 2011, they all became good friends, sharing a bond through mutual emigration from their respective home countries of Haiti, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa. Soon after, Victor introduced his brother, Edouard, to the group and added another friend to the mix. Their friendship grew and grew as they shared stories, recipes, and memories from their past, always wondering how they could bring a piece of their home to their lives here in America. This unearthed the idea for Griot Café.

Griot Cafe inside

Griot in Haiti is a pork dish, while in West Africa it refers to the village storyteller, and that is exactly what the café is all about – stories. “We are telling our story through food,” explains KG. “When you come to The Griot, you are experiencing cuisine from all of our different cultures.”

Griot Cafe inside 2

That vibe certainly resonates, as they give their customers, who have become dear friends, a place to enjoy and feel like they belong.

Griot Cafe inside 4

See More: The 12 Best Vegan Food Spots in Jersey City

“We just want everyone to feel welcome and safe. Come in. Hang out. Sit with us as long as you’d like,” John says. The friends are always chatting with their guests, getting to know who they are and their life stories while sharing their own.

Griot Cafe menu

The menu is a constant {delicious} work in progress, as different dishes are always added to the mix. Right now, one of the most popular plates is the Griot Sandwich {shredded seasoned chicken atop of a crisp plantain chip, covered in smashed avocado topped with a spicy — or not — traditional slaw}. {Editor’s Note: Trust us, it is uhhh-mazing.}.

Griot Cafe Sandwich

Another favorite dish is the Turno, a Haitian pastry similar to a classic turnover but made with beef, chicken, fish, spinach, or vegan. For breakfast options, expect classics with a twist – think avocado toast, breakfast pies, + {Creole chicken and} waffles.

Griot Cafe drinks menu

In addition to the food menu, the café has tons of drink options like smoothies, juices, teas, and other creations. Griot Café proudly serves Chameleon Cold Brew coffee and was actually the first brick and mortar store to roll out its own Hot Brew line.

griot cafe jersey city heights

Everything is organic and ethically sourced, so there’s no doubt that your coffee is coming from a good place.

Griot also has two kegs with a cold brew on tap — regular coffee and Nitro – as well as beans for purchase {a light roast from Ethiopia and a medium and dark roast from Guatemala}. For something jazzier, try the café’s honey coconut oat milk latte {try saying that three times fast or ordering it anywhere else: not possible}.

Read More: A Guide to the Coffee Shops of Jersey City

Other drink options include freshly made in house smoothies and juices, and a selection of international teas.

At Griot Café, everyone is welcome to enjoy the meals, drinks, and joy of the atmosphere. The shop is open from 7:00AM to 7:00PM on weekdays, and 8:00AM to 7:00PM on weekends.

Have you been to Griot Café? Have you found a favorite brew or dish?

Let us know in the comments below!

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