Rook Coffee Roasters Does It Fresh


Everything about Rook says “We’re serious about coffee….”

When I first ventured into a Rook Coffee Roasters, I had to change my expectations about coffee bars.

There were no tables except for a counter at the window with coat hooks. No tea, no espresso drinks, no cooler with a million items to distract me, only a small baked goods selection. With a spartan interior, everything about Rook says, “We’re serious about coffee.” It’s a solo performance and the coffee’s the star.

“Most Americans are used to drinking stale coffee,” explains co-owner Holly Migliaccio. Across the street from Rook’s newest location on Route 35 in Oakhurst, there’s a bustling Starbucks. Yet the line at Rook spills out the door in the mornings. Maybe these people are onto something.

Migliaccio and her business partner, Shawn Kingsley, opened their first Rook Coffee Roasters on Monmouth Road in Oakhurst four years ago to bring some West Coast coffee appreciation to New Jersey. 


“At Rook, every single cup is brewed to order,” says co-owner Holly Migliaccio here demonstrating Rook’s “manual drip pour-over” method

The entrepreneur and mother of two likes Starbucks, she says, and has nothing against tea.

Rook knows its strategy well:

We want to be different,” she says. “We are experts at what we do. It’s our business model. Every single cup is brewed to order,” and “there are no urns of old  coffee sitting around.” The imported beans are roasted locally in a private “roastery,” and transported quickly to its four Monmouth County venues.

In less than a minute, the process is done. The beans are measured, ground, then transferred into a filter where steaming water is poured over them, and the coffee is poured into a cup and handed to the customer. This “manual drip pour-over” method is the “most simple way to make coffee, by hand.”  And, Migliaccio says, the difference in taste is unmistakeable.

Most of its clientele are return customers and Rook servers know their regulars. The shop has cultivated a loyal following that proudly displays its logo of a black crow, or rook, defined by Merriam Webster as “a common Old World gregarious crow.” “Rook piercing,” she notes, is piercing the upper ear cartilage.

The difference in taste is unmistakable

The difference in taste is unmistakable

The owners, both Shore Regional High School graduates, ended up in New York City after college, she in sales and marketing; he, a trader and analyst. They each tired of the city grind (sorry!) and wanted to return to the shore. She quit her job at age 30 and traveled in Asia for three months. When she returned to N.J., he suggested the idea of a specialty coffee shop and she loved it. Now they have 47 employees and a full-time corporate trainer to make sure the employees get the mechanics and the service right.

“We set the bar for our customer experience extremely high,” she says.

Rook does no traditional advertising, relying strictly on word of mouth and social media marketing. The owners contribute to their local community by donating to schools and gift auctions.

View video how Holly and Shawn sourced their coffee from hundreds of choices in Central America and also see a clip about their business story that was part of a larger documentary, Growing up America.

You can sample a handcrafted cup of coffee, organized from mild to dark, at Rook’s four locations, two in Oakhurst, and one in Long Branch and at the Little Silver train station, where baristas time their production to the train schedules.

Just don’t ask for a cappuccino.



  1. Jenn H oceanport says

    Great article! Rook is quality and class. I look forward
    to my daily (maybe twice ) Bali , black with 1 raw!
    The owners could not be nicer people 🙂
    Love my Rook !

  2. I’m addicted!!!!! Best Coffee ever… I make it at home daily – if I run out I run to Rook!!!! Can’t start my day without it… For real

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