The Sugar Tree Takes the Cafe Experience to the Next Level
Nutley is filled with many different restaurants, but the new Sugar Tree Cafe sticks out from the others. Local owners, Jack Bermeo and Sophia Sandoval Bermeo, opened the cafe as a new spot for people to escape reality and enjoy the delicious menu in a unique atmosphere. On May 1, Sugar Tree Cafe officially opened as customers come from all over to experience a cafe like no other.
Jack Bermeo, who is in the entertainment business, relied on his experience with wedding venues to make a new place that was inviting and exciting for customers. In October 2020, Bermeo and his team started to plan and prepare by using this “beautiful town” and pandemic as motivation. Bermeo recognized how much of a negative impact the pandemic has put on not only businesses but everyone this past year. He wanted to shine a light on the town by making his vision a reality. “Since we were not opening up until March, I knew this was the time to prepare for our future and go for a goal that I went to school for,” explains Bermeo. “The bigger step of preparing during uncertain times is to build confidence in your vision and believing in yourself. If I didn’t start, I failed right away."
The cafe is decorated head to toe with flowers, greenery, bright colors, modern accents, and even a life-like tree. Bermeo transformed the place by using the features of Nutley that many people appreciate. “Our inspiration was driving down Passaic Avenue and watching all these trees blossom right during the springtime,” says Bermeo. “I’m in the wedding business so I knew who to count on to help recreate what we see almost every day. We brought in a team of designers from NY and NJ to give all of our guests an indoor park experience leading to the back where we have one of the most instagrammable rooms here in the heart of Nutley.”
Bermeo wanted to create different rooms geared towards different moods making sure to have a space for everyone to enjoy. “The back rooms have a mature, grown-up feeling living room with a bold teal/green color, gold accent frames, and super cool and trendy pictures,” Bermeo explains. “We also have our 'babe cave' that was created by my wife. In this room, you will not only find coffee tables but the room is filled with dark purple roses, dark velvet couches, and more. Inside the sugar tree cafe, we’ll have 4 rooms that will be all conversation pieces.”
Along with the trendsetting atmosphere, Sugar Tree Cafe offers a brunch-style menu filled with delicious food and drink options from avocado toast, signature Nitro Fries with homemade hazel aioli sauce, short rib lasagna on top of cornbread, fresh homemade milkshakes, and much more to come. The menu has yet to be finalized, but is already filled with unique and tasty options. People love to try new places that step out of the box within their space and menu, which is exactly what the Sugar Tree Cafe does. “ It's our vibe and you can see it all on TikTok and Instagram. This cafe is going to create a buzz,” says Bermeo.
With already over 5,000 followers on Instagram, social media has played a huge role in the popularity and success of the cafe. “The power of social media created the hype,” says Bermeo. “Now we have to deliver that experience.”
Through the constant updates on the Sugar Tree Cafe Instagram along with many people’s personal Instagram and TikTok posts, the word of the cafe spread to many different parts of New Jersey, and even New York. “People wanted to be seen in the scene,” says Bermeo. “We are going to provide that from here on out.”
Social media has also provided the cafe with the opportunity to get feedback and succeed during their three soft openings. The three soft openings took place during April for a limited number of customers to be the first to try out the cafe. This allowed the cafe to have a few test runs to prepare their team for the big opening in May. “These soft openings are key to creating the chemistry within our team and to build the Sugar Tree morals,” explains Bermeo. “Rome wasn’t built in one day… but this tree was.”
As this is just the beginning for the Sugar Tree Cafe, Bermeo and his team are continuing to work hard in order to make the cafe its fullest potential. The Sugar Tree Cafe wants its customers to enjoy the cafe in every component, even if that means a few adjustments have to be made. “Opening a cafe or any food and beverage business is not easy,” says Bermeo. “The biggest challenge we had was our menu.” The feedback of the three soft openings and grand opening allowed for the Sugar Tree team to be able to fully understand what customers are looking for in their cafe. “Originally our cafe was supposed to be for coffee and pastries with small bit size foods,” explains Bermeo. “However, our atmosphere and vibe changed it instantly. So our menu had to change right away. We created a brunch-style menu geared to young parents and ‘cool people’ is what we said. Our vibe in the cafe brought in a different culture and people from all parts of NJ.”
The Sugar Tree Cafe makes it their priority to make sure their customers are satisfied, which is one of the reasons the cafe sticks out to people. “Before opening a small business you have to do your research and do more research,” says Bermeo. “Impression gets you and service will keep you. If we failed on any of these, then we would be just a normal cafe.”The Sugar Tree Cafe didn’t want to just be another cafe, they wanted to be a place that people will remember for their service, menu, and ambiance. “To be different you have to think different,” says Bermeo.