June BYOB chef will open Café Le Jardin at The Factory in Collingswood


You may have noticed that chef Richard Cusack concocts vegan dishes like Okinawa purple sweet potato terrine with coconut and yuzu crème fraîche, sour cherries and hearts on fire (micro leaves beets) at June BYOB in Collingswood.

Well, the dishes from his recent tastings were trials for what was to come at a future French vegetarian cafe that he and his wife Christina plan to open on Fern Avenue at The Factory, in a space that once housed Endgrain Coffee Roasters and before that, Revolution Coffee Roasters.

Just down the street from the couple’s French restaurant, Café Le Jardin will be a quaint, cozy and kid-friendly place to satisfy all your vegetarian cravings.

“My wife wanted (a) vegan (restaurant), but I wanted a pescetarian (restaurant) – and then we both met in the middle with a vegetarian,” said Richard, whose dream has always been to own two or three restaurants.

Last August, the Cusacks opened the doors to their stylish BYOB where Haddon meets Collings, bringing all the snails to Collingswood from Philadelphia’s restaurant-rich Passyunk neighborhood.

The original restaurant opened in Philadelphia in 2019, but due to the pandemic closed in September 2020. Collingswood became their new home in 2021.

Coffee lovers:Mobile coffee carts are taking over the South Jersey region

Surrounded by mostly Italian restaurants, both were unsure of the quality of their French cuisine. A year later, he became a favorite in the borough and weathered the wave of staffing issues and inflation.

In October, the couple and their two little ones are excited to expand and bring a kid-friendly cafe to the community that has welcomed them with open arms.

So what’s on the menu at Café Le Jardin?

Think vegetarian, but vegan for this menu.

“I like healthy eating with vegan, but I also don’t want to limit myself or my customers, so I thought vegetarian would be better,” Richard explained. “And I want to sell cheese.”

Do you remember the Okinawa purple sweet potato terrine? This will be on the menu, along with pasta, egg dishes like omelettes, charcuterie and other dishes like the vegetarian Niçoise salad.

And with a fall opening, expect pumpkin soup.

The menu is seasonal and boils down to what’s available with farmers as chefs source from The Potato Homestead in Woodbine, local farmers’ markets and other farms he encounters while driving.

Try the Okinawa purple sweet potato terrine and coconut and yuzu creme fraiche, sour cherries and hearts on fire(x) at the soon-to-open Le Jardin cafe.

“In winter – cabbage, I could probably take out any farmer and pumpkins (in the fall) with any farmer, so I’ll probably be based on that kind of concept,” he said.

Bean 2 Bean Coffee Company in Philadelphia will be on offer to meet your coffee shop coffee needs.

As for this promise to sell cheese, a large showcase will present a variety of French and European cheeses, as well as American cheeses. He’s also in talks with a Philadelphia cheesemaker to develop a cheese just for coffee.

“I try to bring the best, most authentic cheeses possible,” said Richard, who has a cheese connection in France, New York and Philadelphia. “But I also want to make it affordable…not putting out a $30 cheese.”

The cafe is BYOB.

The couple will also organize cheese courses and wine events. French products, including sweets, will be sold at the cafe, along with merchandise including wine glasses and coffee mugs.

Kid-friendly dinner at Le Jardin (the garden)

Picture a café in a garden – that’s the look the Cusacks (read: Christina) envision for the café, staying true to its name.

With wooden elements throughout the space, they plan to have earthy tones with plants all around.

There will be 16-20 seats to add to the comforting ambiance. A back patio will be open for outdoor seating. And the spiral staircase will surely catch your eye.

Smokers for weeding pizza:What You Need To Know About South Jersey Cannabis Entrepreneurs

This fall, Richard and Christina Cusack will open Café Le Jardin in Collingswood.

“The place has a great energy, there’s a great feeling,” Christina shared. “We will keep a natural energy; it will be woods and greens.

Christina is thinking of wooden tables with green chairs, but the couple are still figuring out the furniture.

The cafe will be tucked away just inside The Factory, a coworking, creative and events space that has hosted numerous businesses, including offices for Sabrina’s Cafe and Brigantine Oyster Co., with an industrial kitchen that has supplied space for start-ups including Square Meal and Constellation Collective.

Café Le Jardin aims to be child friendly as the Cusacks want to encourage healthy eating for their own children and have a comfortable space to run with them.

“I hate seeing my kids eat chicken nuggets or fries all the time,” Richard said. “I’d rather see them eat a good pumpkin soup, or some kind of good pasta, or something like that. Get vegetables in their life.

“We want them (guests) to feel comfortable bringing their kids and hanging out,” Christina added.

Ready to take on challenges

For Richard, experimenting with vegetarian and vegan dishes is a fun way to expand his cooking skills.

“I know a lot of chefs don’t like to go vegetarian or vegan – for them it’s a pain in the a#$,” he explained. “But to me, I’m weird. I really like challenges. I like the toughest challenges because, in the end, they make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

He is happy to develop dishes and try new techniques. And vegetables, he said, offer insight into a chef’s skills because “you can’t hide it” behind a steak or other meat.

Café Le Jardin will be a French vegetarian cafe in Collingswood.

The chef is also ready to weather the storms of inflation and staffing that continue to plague the restaurant industry.

“I feel like when people open second place, one place suffers because they’re not there in time,” he shared. “In this case, I keep the times opposite so I can be in both places, so neither place suffers. So being the main focal point is going to be good, but it’s going to be exhausting.

“It will be difficult, but no matter what, I will get through it – there is always a way out,” he said.

If you are going to

Cafe Le Jardin, 13 Fern Ave. (inside The Factory), Collingswood, opening October.

June BYOB, 690 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, (856) 240-7041; junebyob.com

Hira Qureshi covers food and beverage for the Courier Post, the Burlington County Times and the Daily Journal. She can be reached at [email protected] or 856-287-8106. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.


About Author

Comments are closed.