Monsoon Roastery will soon be expanding its espresso bar on Albany Street in Springfield and owner Tim Monson says hell have a little help from his friends.
Under the new name Urban Food Brood, Monson and other business owners from Springfield and the surrounding area are creating a new bakery and caf that will also feature a butcher shop, a frozen foods vendor and a hydroponic farm stand.
Popular Springfield lunch spot Nosh Restaurant and Caf is moving its bread-making operations to Albany Street and will also open a second branch of the cafe. Corsello Butcheria of Easthampton, Urban Artisan Farm and new business Happy Man Freeze Dried are all part of the collaboration at 250 Albany Street.
The overall concept is part caf, part food manufacturing, and part retail. Monson says he expects the new business to open before the end of the year.
Urban Food Brood at Gasoline Alley in Springfield.
A preview event for the space is planned for December 3 as part of Gasoline Alleys Second Annual Kringle Market, which will feature 30 vendors and two breweries, Rustic Brewing Company and Abandoned Building Brewery. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will feature wares and artworks from Pioneer Valley artists and craftspeople.
On the Urban Food Brood concept, Monson says, This will be the best parts of a grocery store with really rad breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its a natural progression here. We get to work with all these people we love to be with every day so its kind of a dream come true.
Terri Skinner, owner and operator of Nosh, says the caf downtown is not going anywhere anytime soon. Im going to keep Nosh downtown. I just love all of our customers down there.Read more: Popular Springfield lunch spot Nosh adds liquor license, to introduce dinner menu
The new Nosh location will feature the same menu of sandwiches, soups and salads, Skinner says.
I see it as a space that people can gather, and you can obviously come in and do your shopping, or get some food and some cool drinks. But I also think its a place like people would want to come and just hang out, she says.
The caf and vendors will be in a 4,000-square-foot space in the same building that currently houses Monsoon Roastery on Albany Street. This section of the city is known as Gasoline Alley because of the huge fuel storage tanks that dot the landscape.
The space used to be a private office with a cubicle farm, Monson says, but roughly $250,000 in upgrades and renovations have gone into creating the new caf.
Monsoon Roastery cans inside of Urban Food Brood in October 2022 in the weeks leading up to opening.
A new commercial kitchen is being built for Noshs operations. A large bar is being built for Monsoons espresso bar. Its a project that began in 2019 and has faced setbacks due to the pandemic. A $50,000 collaborative workspace grant from MassDevelopment in 2020 got the project off the ground, but additional funding sources were necessary due to pandemic- and inflation-related cost increases over the last couple of years.
With only weeks to go until the Urban Food Brood opens, Monson says he cant wait to see the first clients walking in.
Come and grab a sandwich that has bread from Nosh, microgreens from the farmer and local meat from the butcher, Monson says. And a drink with an awesome coffee or some freeze-dried fruit around the rim.Read more: Monsoon Roastery opens new coffee shop
Happy Man Freeze Dried is a new business venture by Jamie Brooks started in April 2022. Monson says Brooks freeze-dries everything from fruits to vegetables to candy and even coffee. It differs from dehydrating ingredients in that its crunchier, more flavorful and more nutritious, according to Monson.
Urban Artisan Farm uses hydroponic technology to grow vegetables at its greenhouse complex at 250 Albany St. Current options available on their online shop include microgreens, a $20 produce box, and dried mushrooms, to name a few. The urban farm was started by former chef Tony Renzulli and business partner Jack Wysocki.
Wysocki previously told MassLive that a priority of the Urban Food Brood is to collaborate on making high-quality food manufacturing with an eye towards innovative ways to increase productivity, sustainability, and energy efficiency.
Vincent Corsello and his wife Kasey opened Corsello Butcheria on Cottage Street in Easthampton in 2017. Vincent, who is originally from Indiana, learned to butcher in Italy and he previously told MassLive that his business prioritizes locally-sourced meats.
Nosh founder Skinner gained attention in Springfield by selling her signature bread and other dishes at local farmers markets in 2016. She then began selling from an order-from-the-door restaurant before opening the current location in the back of The Shops at Marketplace on Main Street.
Terri Skinner at Urban Food Brood on Albany Street. Skinner was painting the inside of a new bakery in October 2022.
Skinner says she wants to invite guest chefs to cook dinners at the new Nosh caf on Albany Street. If there is an up-and-coming chef or maybe you own a food truck, and you want to test your wheels at a brick-and-mortar kind of business and this would give someone an opportunity to come in and start off a weekend thing.
Guest chefs would benefit from mentoring and kitchen incubator style resources from Skinner and other Urban Food Brood members, she says.
I think its a great way to incorporate the whole community and that person who cant just jump right into some business like this, Skinner says. Its good to test your feet in the water in a safe space where you have a lot of support and people that have done it before you.
Another Springfield business on Worthington Street has also announced plans of opening a kitchen incubator next year called The Standard. In the meantime, Offsite 222 opened earlier this fall as an events venue, with both ventures spearheaded by property owner Alfredo Orejuela and partners Rashad Ali and Julianny Molinary, who own and operate the eatery 1636 North.Read more: Offsite 222, events venue in downtown Springfield, opening in November with plans for restaurant incubator underway
Monson opened Monsoon Roastery in 2018 with his wife Andrea Monson after starting out selling coffee to family and friends. Eventually, the couples coffee became so popular they opened their first retail and operating space on Albany Street.
Monsoon Roastery now distributes between 500 to 600 pounds of coffee a week between wholesale and retail and home delivers coffee to residents in the Springfield area. The roasterys coffee can also be found at cafes in the area such as The Artist Cafe and stores such as River Valley Co-op.
Its good businesses and good vibes here, Monson says.