Introducing Brew X Bread
In its simplest form, Brew X Bread is a coffeehouse and wine tasting room. Although, this unique “gathering destination” deserves a more sophisticated narrative. Starting with its Chef curated menu, yes Brew X Bread has a culinary trained and experienced Chef, who worked with the owners’ vision to assist in developing the tasting menu while managing the kitchen. Offerings include breakfast with specialties such as parfaits and avocado toast in addition to traditional breakfast sandwiches, breads and sweets. The lunch menu features salads, wraps, sandwiches, specials du jour and a variety of bowls with a choice of proteins. Dinner provides small plates such as Shrimp and Grits, Steak with a Chimichurri Sauce and Creole Chicken. In addition, hors d’oeuvre and charcuterie will be available. The must-try house specialty is Brew Bread, a house-baked bread offered in sweet and savory options.
The Hill’s newest “coffee house” will of course serve Americana, lattes, cappuccinos, and teas, available hot and cold. In Brew X Bread fashion, it will do so in exclusive style. The baristas are trained in the art and will only be serving premier house blends brews, dispensed from handmade state-of-the-art coffee and espresso machines and presses.
The Taste of Kennedy Cellars is Now on Main
Providing a relaxing space to just “have a class of wine,” Brew X Bread does so as the official Mullica Hill Tasting Room of Kennedy Cellars. The winemaker’s offerings include 13 reds and 4 whites. These award-winning wines are created with fruit sourced from the finest vineyards around the world. The Kennedy winemaking team identify the perfect grapes from their vineyard partners for each varietal and vintage. Their chosen harvest is produced at the winery in Hammonton, N.J. Also produced by Kennedy Cellars is Mullikka, Brew X Bread’s exclusive Red Table Wine, labeled for and inspired by our hometown.
Local Resident Inspired to Launch Bread X Brew
The vision for Brew X Bread is from longtime Mullica Hill resident Jeffery S. Downs, Esquire. For those who do not know Jeffery, he’s lived in the Hill for almost 20 years, is a well-versed local attorney, reputed for his meticulous attention to detail and offices on South Main Street. He enjoys the practice of law in the Hill; his firm’s adage is “Large Firm Experience…Small Town Values”. Mr. Downs is the owner of the famed Spicer House, which he magnificently restored and makes available for fundraising events. This year’s events include the annual Garden Tour and Taste of Tea on June 18, in support of animal rescue; the premier social event in the Hill, the Summer Social, on August 4, supporting the Harrison Township Beautification Committee; and the Historic Christmas House Tour, supporting downtown and local children’s charities. A generous philanthropist, Jeff supports a number of other causes.
Although, what he may be best known for is his adoration of all things Mullica Hill. You can often find him strolling Main Street supporting local merchants with purchases in toe. On most weekdays you will find him at Blueplate for lunch with clients or friends and every weekend with his partner, Steven Dean Clark, enjoying brunch. Jeff truly loves his Mullica Hill community, and one gets a true sense of this when he talks about our hometown.
Getting to Know Jeffery S. Downs, Esquire
Happening in the Hill sat down with Jeffrey Downs to talk about Brew X Bread, the Spicer House and his favorite subject, Mullica Hill. We started our afternoon with a walk-through of Brew X Bread’s location. Built in the 1850s, Jeffrey oversaw the complete renovation, assuring the original character of the building as he restored it. He personally fashioned the warm comfortable ambience choosing much of the eclectic décor from local merchants including Farm House Design, The Kinsley House, and Studio 23 Home.
Happening in The Hill (HitH): First the Spicer House, next your law office, and now Brew X Bread’s location. Do you have a passion for restoring historic structures?
Jefferey Downs (JD): When I purchased the Spicer House, I did not have the desire to renovate a historic home. I felt a call to bring back this property, which was not being loved. Here was this historic home in this great town that was in despair … total despair. On the day I closed after all the papers were signed, I walked through my new home. There were missing floorboards, walls crumbling, broken windows, shingles blown off the roof, no central air, a broken boiler and leaves past my knee. (Smiling) Like the house, for a brief moment, I was in despair, as if I was back in my first year of law school with no idea of what I got myself into.
Then I got organized and went to work. I started with painting, I got the paint and hours into it, I realized I was not a good painter. I had more paint on me than the walls and the hardwood floors had paint footprints throughout … I called a professional painter. To add to my pressure, I had sent out 100 invitations for a Christmas Housewarming Party, less then 60 days away. The good news is, I made my deadline and had a wonderful party and since then I’ve gotten much better at painting.
To answer your question, yes, I have a passion … maybe a bit of a love-hate passion … but a passion none the less. As I’ve taken on these projects, I’ve gotten better at them. I’ve learned what I can do myself and when to hire a professional. The process is still stressful, that doesn’t lessen no matter how many projects I have completed. But the sense of reward once completed is well worth it … and I truly enjoy contributing to the beauty of Mullica Hill.
HitH: You have such a strong sense of community, what created this for you?
JD: After finding Mullica Hill and deciding I wanted to live here, I purchased the Spicer House. This was back in 2004. One day, in an effort to escape from the reality that I just bought a house from the 1800s that needed a lot of work, I strolled Main Street and wound up in a store on its last day in business, the Old Gray Mare. I found and bought a painting of the Spicer House which still hangs in my home today. As I was paying for it, I told the proprietor, Betsy Gray, that I had recently purchased and was restoring the propriety for my home. She said, “I have some stories for you,” and we talked for hours about the town and its history.
That same day I had met Hazel Dilsaver of Farm House Design. I was telling her about the property, that I was restoring and that it had such an old, abandoned smell. Hazel began packing up eight juicy apple candles and told me to put them in rooms throughout the house. I asked what do I owe you? Hazel responded, “Welcome to town…. don’t worry about it.” The next day when I arrived at the house to work on my to dos, it smelled like an apple orchard.
It was the warmth of the people, the charm of Main Street, the beauty of the farmland and maybe the calling of the Spicer House, that made me feel Mullica Hill was home and I was here to stay.
HitH: How did you discover Mullica Hill?
JD: At the time, I was living in a loft in Center City Philadelphia and working at a “Big Law” firm. Although the work gave me great experience, I generally was not keen on the culture of these firms. Living and working in the city wasn’t for me, I’m a small-town boy at heart. I knew I eventually wanted to open my own practice. One day, I stumbled upon the Hilltop Restaurant (previously located where Blueplate is today) and fell in love with Main Street. I came back several times and recognized the sense of community and green space that I was missing.
HitH: What was your vision for Brew X Bread?
JD: I had often envisioned a gathering place in a beautiful warm space, a community space, a common ground. We’d create a place to put differences aside and come together. So, when I got the call that the old insurance property at 32 South Main was going on the market, I did a walk-through. I actually got the same “calling” as I did with the Spicer House.
After purchasing the property, I mentioned the idea to my friends, successful realtor Joanna Papadaniil, and her husband Yianni, an architect consultant and real estate investor. They own the property right next door and after renovating it, Joanna founded The Dressing Room at the location.
Steven and I met with Joanna and Yianni Papadaniil. We shared our original vision for a coffee house, BYOB café, a gathering place with a unique menu that included breakfast, lunch, dinner in addition to lite snacks and hors d’oeuvre. A space where you’d find a diverse mix of guests—the remote worker who needs to get out of the house, the businessperson having lunch with a client, or friends meeting up for drinks and appetizers. As we discussed the details, our excitement was obviously contagious; Joanna and Yianni were hooked. I invited them to partner in the endeavor. The Papadaniils agreed to join us in bringing Brew X Bread to reality and were equally excited to bring back another historic property in Mullica Hill. Joanna and Yianni introduced us to Jack Kennedy, from Kennedy Wine Cellars in Hammonton. Kennedy Wines are produced in Hammonton, although they source their grapes from renown vineyards throughout the world. After learning about their sourcing practices and tasting their wonderful wines, we incorporated a Kennedy Wine tasting room and outlet into the business plan. In addition, we decided to open the adjoining land of The Dressing Room and Brew X Bread to create an outdoor venue where we’ll host special events. It is called the “Common Grounds.” We all agreed that a Coffee House Café with wine tasting and outlet was perfect for our Main Street.
It’s been an incredible partnership… (Jeff said grinning) and the rest is history…
It was a pleasure meeting Jeffery Downs and learning about Brew X Bread. Stay tuned for a future edition of Happening in the Hill, where we’ll feature the charming other half of the dynamic partnership behind Brew X Bread, Joanna and Yianni Papadaniil.
We certainly got the sense there is something incredibly special soon to open on our Main Street.
Jeffery asked us to pass along that he looks forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at Brew x Bread!
More About Brew x Bread
Mon.-Wed. – 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m
Thurs.-Sat. – 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sun. – 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Charming outdoor seating with firepit
Events calendar to be announced
Available for special occasions, hosting 15-35 guests
Table pad ordering/payment system