In collaboration with Dixon Projects, we take a look at the build out and design of Maggie’s Farm Espresso.
A long-dormant retail space at 88 Morgan Street has officially sprung to life, as a new Australian café has started serving customers breakfast and lunch in their Downtown spot.
Maggie’s Farm Espresso is the brainchild of owner Sam de Burgh, who was born and raised in Perth, Australia. Moving to the U.S. eight years ago, he envisioned bringing some of his home country’s culture and hospitality to Jersey City and knew exactly what he’d call the venture.
The café’s name is a tribute to both de Burgh’s mother and an ode to the famous Bob Dylan song where the music legend croons that he “ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.” From inception, de Burgh went to Dixon Projects to help find a Jersey City space, create the café’s rustic aspirations, and manage construction.
Dixon Projects worked alongside de Burgh’s broker to help secure their Jersey City location. They also provided a complimentary site inspection to advise on cost and feasibility, to ensure the space would fit de Burgh’s needs and budget.
Once the lease was locked in, de Burgh and Dixon Projects moved forward with designing the space around the unique store footprint. The space has a somewhat unconventional layout, so Dixon Projects helped de Burgh balance a lot of competing components, including seating, function, and the bar area.
“Sam originally came to us with a deck of the brand he was trying to create, and we were able to lock in the aesthetics fairly quickly,” says Nick Mason, Project Manager for Dixon Projects. Dixon Projects’ in-house Interior Design team sourced Amish furniture that complemented the rustic vibe de Burgh was going for.
Seating at Maggie’s Farm Espresso is split up into two distinct areas. The first, next to the main counter, features barstool and counter seating next to large windows, while a separate section down a few stairs is catered towards diners. “The setup provides the perfect balance of ‘grab and go’ at the top with a more relaxed and easy-going vibe in the bottom area,” says Mason.
To fit everything needed in the small space required hyper-detailed drawings and measurements by the in-house architecture team. De Burgh had to make some concessions along the way to accommodate for all the equipment needed in the kitchen/serving area, but this delicate process of almost “fitting pieces into a complex puzzle” worked out successfully in the end, thanks to Dixon Projects’ construction management.
Somewhat of a challenge was adding the polished concrete floor. The team started by tearing up the existing carpet throughout the space, but unexpectedly, there was tile underneath the carpet. The team was able to remove this tile as well to give way for the polished concrete, all while staying on schedule.
The overall design aesthetic includes lots of distressed wood, windmills, and other nods to farm living not normally associated with a bustling metropolis. Some furniture from Gypsy Farmhouse in Cedar Grove was brought in to compliment the décor. “Sam knew he wanted to include a large farm-style dining table and he did a fantastic job finding one with the help of our designers,” says Mason.
“I’m extremely satisfied with the process, professionalism, work ethic , knowledge, responsiveness, timeline & budget in partnering with Dixon.” says de Burgh. “I felt the Dixon Projects team were personally invested in the project from initial consultation to final delivery and they shared my passion to create the brand & end result throughout every detail.”
As far as the caffeine goes, Maggie’s Farm Espresso uses Counterculture Coffee, a supplier that sources their beans from multiple small estates and cooperatives to ensure the highest quality. The food menu at the café, which will change seasonally, has been curated by Perth-born chef Paul Salmeri, who previously trained at Italy’s Apicius International Culinary School and later worked at the Michelin Star restaurant The River Café in London.
Besides a selection of scones, pastries and other baked goods from Balthazar, breakfast options at Maggie’s Farm include a toasted breakfast wrap with free range egg, baby spinach, avocado, and cheese. Other heartier choices include a smashed avocado on toast with roast pumpkin and goat’s cheese, while lighter fare like a Bircher muesli with berry compote, oats, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit are available as well.
Current seasonal sandwiches being served at the café include a Chicken Waldorf, which consists of chicken, mayo, apple, and walnuts. A prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and baby arugula dish, a smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and dill option, and a Thanksgiving-themed sandwich featuring turkey, cranberry, Brie and baby spinach round out the choices.
Maggie’s Farm is open for business on Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.