Analysts quit their jobs in finance to start cafe that is now one of New Jersey's top places to eat

A group of young, successful friends working in finance decided to take a leap of faith together and open a cafe -- a leap that has paid off. 

Four ambitious analysts and a close friend wanted to start a business, and when the idea of a cafe arose -- they knew that was the direction to go in. Victor Joseph, John Gichuru, Malick Drame, Edouard Francois and one partner who requested anonymity quickly began developing the idea, incorporating their unique backgrounds and personal touches, until it became The Griot Cafe in Jersey City, NJ.

Joseph and Gichuru both quit their full-time jobs in finance to fully dive into brand new careers as entrepreneurs.

"I don't regret what I did," Gichuru told AOL Finance about making the decision to pivot careers. 

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As we close out 2018, we approach it with a profound sense of gratitude to many our guests, some of whom have become lifelong friends. With your continued support and feedback, we managed to achieve remarkable milestones such as being selected as the # 5 place to eat in NJ by Yelp. We don’t take this lightly and as we begin 2019, we will continue to bring you great food while providing a community space that's safe and open to everyone. Stay safe and see y'all in 2019!! One Love!! . . . . #Storyteller #Griotcafethanksyou #Griotcafelovesyouall #Griotcafeislove #communityandlove #Bestwishesfor2019 #Griotcafejerseycityheights #jerseycityheights
Griotology: Happiness is a cup of our toasted honey coconut oat latte, a vegan turno, and a good book! Come through and be happy with us!! . . . . #Storyteller #toastedhoneyoatlattelove #veganturnosforlife #greatreadsatgriotcafe #griotcafelovesjerseycityhgts #griotcafecommunitycafeinjc #jerseycityheightscafe #loveandcommunity
One of Griot Cafe's main goals is to create a community space where relationships between family or friends can be strengthened, renewed, or formed!! These relationships become part of our life long commitment to each other! Bearing witness to these interactions affirms our commitment to you!! Always Love! . . . . #GriotCafe #storytellers #stuckonloveatthegriotcafe #morethanjustacafe #whatsacafewithoutlove #thursdayloveatthegriotcafe #griotmeanscommunityandlove #summerisalmostoverbutwhocares
What's up family!! Its Hump day and your coffee probably didn't work and lunch was whack!! Swing by the Griot cafe for the perfect 3 p.m. pick me-up!! Our new toasted cold brew coconut latte and Kenyan mandazi (beignets) are perfect because . . . Hump day matters!! 📷 by @lavidadebrittbrat #storytellers #beignetsatgriotcafe #kenyanpastriesnowatthegriot #toastedicedcoconutlatteswag #icedcaramelmacchiatobliss #icedlatteswag #3rdwavecoffeeonly #organiccoffeeforyoursoul #coffeesmoothaf #justkeepingyoucaffeinated #wednesdaytreats #eatdrinkandreadatgriotcafe #jerseycityheights #patioisoopen #summerishere☀️
Get our turnos, beignets, waffles, and sandwiches right at your doorstep!! Our entire menu is now available through Uber eats!! Getyoureaton!!! #storytellers #eatdrinkandreadatgriotcafe #savorypastriesatgriotcafe #veganturnosforyoursoul #summersaladseason #smoothafnitrocoldbrew #organiccoffee #coffeesmoothaf #jerseycityheights #summerishere #patioisoopen
What’s good family! I know we’ve been ghost on social media. However, we’ve been putting in work to improve our menu. We're now serving mac and cheese gratine (Haitian inspired), breakfast pies, and a loaded omelette. To compliment these dishes, we're offering over 10 fresh juices and smoothies. Come through, you won't be disappointed! We got you!! 📷by @lavidadebrittbrat . . . . #storytellers #newdishesatgriotcafe #macaronigratineallday #breakfastomlettesandpies #freshjuiceandsmoothiesatgriotcafe #eatdrinkandreadatgriotcafe #newbrunchitemsatgriotcafe #jerseycityheights #patioisoopen #summerisnotover
Introducing the Griot creole chicken and waffles with sliced mangoes. Inspired by tradition and perfected by innovation. Taste it starting this Saturday at 11am. 📸@lavidadebrittbrat #storytellers #weekenddelightsatthegriot #letsdobrunchatgriotcafe #millenialbrunchswag #brunchloveatgriotcafe #griotdidthisforcentralave #changingbrunchtrendsinjerseycityhgts #patioisoopen #summerishere
Different season means a new coffee flavor at the Griot Cafe!! Introducing The Day Breaker! Made bright and fruity to jumpstart your spring!! #storytellers #newspringcoffeeflavor #Ethiopiancoffeelove #brightandfruitymeetsspring #midnightcoffeedebuts #griotcaffeination #organiccoffee #ethicallysourcedcoffee #3rdwavecoffee #coffeesmoothAF #smoothcoffeeoncentralave #bringingnewcoffeetojerseycityhgts #griotlove #chameleoncoldbrew
What a weekend at the Griot Cafe! A heartfelt thank you to each guest and member of the community that stopped by. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions. More to come. Stay tuned. #storytellers #ohsothankful #magnificentguests #teamgriotcafe #yournewfavoritecafe
Good morning. Don’t forget to stop by for your free coffee this morning. #griotcafe #centralavenue #jerseycityheights #coffee #kombucha #chameleoncoldbrew #freecoffee #exicted @chameleoncoldbrew
Regular pastries are alright, but Griot Turnos are heaven. Check us out at Griot ! #storytellers #GriotCafe #servingorganiccoffee #newcafeoncentral
For organically sourced, tailor-roasted coffee come to Griot Café on central ave and enjoy our worldly coffee selection. #ethicallysourced #Freecoffeethisweekend #Storytellers #coffee #jerseycity #jerseycityheights @chameleoncoldbrew
Griot Cafe is here!! Free coffee this weekend (03/10 - 3/11) from 10-6 Come meet the team!! #Storytellers #bringingnewflavorstocentralAve
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"To me, it's about building something bigger," Joseph said. "I've always wanted to build something. I've always been inspired by the great entrepreneurs, and the way I think about it, at the end of the day when it comes to doing something difficult, it's never a going to be a good time."

The combination of Haitian, South African, Kenyan and Senegalese cultures is apparent from the unique food offerings to the welcoming atmosphere and bookshelves where patrons can trade books -- after all, a Griot (gree-oh) is a West African storyteller. 

Located on busy Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights, the cafe sees a good amount of foot traffic from residents and people who work in the area. "The Heights has been good so far," Gichuru told AOL. "I think we made the best decision."

While the cafe is still relatively new to the neighborhood, it recently ranked No. 2 on NJ.com's 18 most popular New Jersey restaurants of 2018 and ranked in the top five on Yelp’s Top 50 Places to Eat in New Jersey.

The "very relaxed comfortable vibes" of the cafe are frequently noted in Yelp reviews, as well as the time and attention the owners and baristas, Brittany and Stephanie, give to each of their patrons."You can tell they care about customer service," another Yelp reviewer wrote

The cafe's chef Ann Glory Cajour, assisted by Joseph, creates all homemade food items, including the very popular chicken and waffles, turno's -- flaky pastries filled with beef, chicken, spinach, fish or a vegan option -- and sweet, fluffy beignets. The Jersey City eatery also offers Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee, becoming the first in the area to serve organic and nitro cold brew coffee. 

"It's a great product," Gichuru said about the Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee. "It's something that has complemented our vision."

The cafe is currently open seven days a week and even offers a back patio for those who enjoy a little fresh air with their coffee and bite to eat. 

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