|Above: Dov, with his wife and co-worker Susan, and their two children in their Tel Aviv apartment. |
You will find this gourmet coffee shop on Rechov Hachashmonaim in downtown Tel Aviv. It may not be the first place one would expect to find a great cup of coffee but Dov and his, then, only partner, David Klein seemed to have chosen a perfect spot for their restaurant . Cafe Joe is located in a bustling business and commercial area. It is across the street from the wholesale fruit and vegetable market, which provides a large and very early morning clientele. They are also surrounded by office buildings and other commercial enterprises and have people coming in to eat and drink all day. Cafe Joe is large, airy and comfortable so that, like many Tel Aviv coffee shops, it has become a favorite spot for business meetings. The Tel Aviv Cinemateque is close by and Habima is not too far, adding an evening and late night crowd.
Although they have been friends for many years, Dov Goldfarb and David Klein have only been business partners for a short time. Dov made aliyah to Kibbutz Ketura, near Eilat, from New York in 1984 a number of years after participating in the Young Judaea Year Course. While there, he met and married his wife, Susan Friedman from Minneapolis, and they had two sons. David came to Ketura from Maryland in 1993 where he met his wife-to-be, Shiri.
Dov had worked for about 10 years in the food industry. David had worked in coffee shops in the US and had talked for years about opening a coffee shop in Israel, " kmo sh'tzarich "- the way it should be. After moving up north the two friends kept in touch, and one day decided to put down on paper a business plan for a gourmet coffee establishment in Tel Aviv. In May 1997, three short months later, the first Cafe Joe on Rechov Hachashmonaim was opened. About a year and a half later they brought in a third partner - Ami Shem-Tov. In April 1999 a second Cafe Joe opened. Their focus now is on expanding their wholesale gourmet coffee business.
When you first set foot into Cafe Joe you immediately begin to understand how they have defied the average nine-month life span of a cafe. Cafe Joe is a spacious, comfortable spot with a great coffee aroma. In addition to their gourmet coffees, Cafe Joe serves cakes, some of which Susan and Shiri bake on the premises, and light meals. While there are numerous food options at Cafe Joe the emphasis here is on the coffee. At the restaurant's entrance is a huge red and silver coffee roaster. It looks like its there to create an atmosphere, but let there be no mistake on this point - Cafe Joe's coffee is roasted right there three nights a week! Cafe Joe's coffee is imported directly to them and is roasted on the premises. They only import the higher quality, more costly Arabica coffee, which is grown on higher ground and hand picked. At Cafe Joe, they create their own blends using their freshly roasted 100% Arabica coffee. They then sell their coffee blends to exclusive restaurants and cafes.
At Cafe Joe they believe, "the gourmet coffee business in Israel is in diapers," and they are doing all they can to change it.
by Marilyn Feit
Marilyn Feit Schachter, who made aliyah from New York in 1983,
is a freelance journalist living in Tel Aviv.