When Long Play Cafe opens the first week of August, it will have been because of a village.
Hanging just inside the door is a poster designed by owner Brian Broad and headed by the African proverb “It takes a village,” giving thanks to the many people – including Broad’s wife, Brenda; his family; Allura Kitchens and Baths; his landlords; and his former colleagues in Amsterdam – who helped create the Long Play Cafe community.
“This is a sign that I put together, you know how people put up their first dollar, they put up their first newspaper article,” he said, noting that he wanted to reflect on the opening in a different way. “It took so many people to do this, and I tried to put as many people on this as I could.”
The record store and bistro-style eatery will open on Aug. 6 in Market East Plaza off Main Street, with limited hours and a limited menu while Broad begins hiring additional staff. The space was formerly part of the now-closed Fusion Fitness.
The cafe is influenced by Broad’s time in Amsterdam, as its cafe style leans more to what Americans think of as a bistro. Broad’s menu will include appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta entrees and desserts.
“It’s all made to order. It’s all done when you walk in,” he said, noting that the bistro won’t be fast food. “They can come in and help themselves to a glass of whatever flavored water I have in there that day, and kick back and listen to what’s playing or peruse through some records, and just take some time away from their day. Just forget for a few minutes and just have a conversation. Then run.”
The cafe will have coffee straight from Italy’s Caffe Musetti, as well as Newark’s Little Goat Coffee. Eventually, Broad plans to serve alcohol, but he hasn’t yet gone through the liquor license process.
Several shelves on wheels display the records that are for sale, representing the Billboard Top 200 from the 1950s to present. He also has music from independent labels and artists for sale.
Broad plans to host music performances under the colorful lights he has installed in the ceiling.
As he spent the winter and spring renovating the space, he has been working with his neighbors to collaborate on different projects. During the Free Comic Book Day event in May, he spent time with Captain Blue Hen Comics, selling records at the storefront.
He has more collaborations in the works, like with Viva Bowls, the acai/pitiya bowl eatery next to Long Play.
With Rainbow Records’ recent move to nearby Pomeroy Station, Broad is looking forward to working with owners Todd and Miranda Brewer.
“We don’t do anything the same. I mean, when you go to Todd’s store, you’re going to find all sorts of stuff that I don’t have, and vice versa,” he said. “So we’re really happy that we’re neighbors, and we know that we can actually help each other coexist. I’m still finding Newark to be a really friendly place to be, a helpful place to be.”
While Broad was having trouble juggling all the components he hopes will fit into the spot, he said that it feels more cohesive now that the space is together.
“We’re at the stage where we’re ready to go, but we’re really open to change,” he said. “We want to grow into it. We’re not saying ‘This is it. We’re here.’ We’re growing and changing.”
He said most of his initial vision remains intact.
“I want people to feel like they’re included,” he said. “That’s the kind of place this is. That’s what we wanted. That has not changed. That’s the goal. The goal has always been inclusion, community, friendship, a place to come to relax.”