Kwik Coffee Health Food, an intimate and cozy cafe located at 22 Lackawanna Plaza, opened in November 2017, conveniently situated beside Zura Yoga Studio and the Bobbi Brown Makeup Studio.
Kwik provides freshly ground and brewed artisan coffee, espresso, a variety of teas and smoothies. In addition, they offer daily options of soups, sandwiches, Mediterranean boreks, simits and baklava. Boreks and simits are freshly made locally by a kitchen in Clifton, and baklava is flown directly from Gaziantep, Turkey.
Alev Erdi opened the cafe with her son.
“We moved to Montclair from Clifton in 2004 because Montclair’s school district is great at integrating kids with social difficulties and my son Kaan has autism,” says Erdi. “Montclair is a very diverse, culturally rich and welcoming town. It has been a pleasure living here and having friends.”
Erdi, who is already employed as programs director in the biomedical engineering department at NJIT, decided to embark on this very different business venture for a reason close to her heart.
“It is hard for adults with communication and focusing issues to be employed,” says Erdi, adding that only 12 percent of individuals with high functioning Autism and Asperger’s have full-time employment. “Therefore, it is necessary to help them become more independent. Kwik’s main goal is to provide employment not only to Kaan but to all people with disabilities in the community.”
Erdi describes Kaan as a very social individual who likes to cook and be in the kitchen. However, he has always struggled to maintain conversations or start communication.
“Kwik is his place where he greets his customers, makes connections, makes coffee and serves sandwiches. This has enabled him to feel empowered as witnessed in his video.
Kwik has a cozy intimate atmosphere where Erdi is hoping to promote friendships and communication and enhance well-being, the vibe of a traditional Turkish coffeehouse. It also offers more than just food and drink.
“We organize backgammon days and bookclub days where members can have their meetings in our backspace for free. On February 10th, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we will get together to sing along to Love Songs.”
Kwik also delivers for free within 0.4 miles. To further their mission to employ people with disabilities, Erdi and Kaan are happy to announce their collaboration between Kwik Coffee and the Montclair High School Transition Program. The transition program, covered by the New York Times, is Montclair’s innovative program for students with special educational needs and provides work opportunities for students ages 18-21. Their mission is to prepare students to be active, working members of the Montclair community. The program is currently looking at 10 businesses that can provide opportunities to these students.
Want to see Kwik’s mission in action? Stop by to enjoy their delicious artisan coffee, smoothie, borek, or just to say ‘hi!”