Syracuse native’s love of coffee percolates downtown

Cafe Kubal opened its third location, on the corner of Jefferson and South Salina streets, last month.

Cafe Kubal opened its third location, on the corner of Jefferson and South Salina streets, last month. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— Matt Godard is crazy about coffee.

The 35-year-old Syracuse resident — born and raised — can tell you the difference between coffee beans, brewed coffee flavors and the decision making behind hiring employees for his three Cafe Kubal shops.

Let’s say he doesn’t employ just anyone.


Matt Godard

“I hire people who love Syracuse,” he said. “They also need to treat our customers well.”

What he’s done with his James Street and Tully Street locations has allowed him to expand by opening a third shop downtown at 401 S. Salina St. Developers Bob Doucette and Rich deVito approached Godard, and he “was sold on their vision.” Dec. 23 was the new store’s grand opening.

It’s a prime location, as the building has 45 apartments, all of which are rented, and more than 250 people work there.

Godard started the business more than five years ago as a wholesaler, selling roasted coffee beans online and to local businesses. Unsatisfied, he decided he wanted to open a shop.

“I had a cafe-type place in mind,” he said. “I did it for the people who have a passion for coffee and food, and also to make those customers feel welcome, warm when they walk in the door.”

After a successful five years in business, Cafe Kubal sprouted up downtown. Godard said he wanted to provide to the area a place that’s an alternative to all the bars. The new location is open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. the rest of the week.

Godard studied English at Calvin College in Michigan, but decided against a career in journalism. Now, he’s fully invested in what he does.


Phil and Donna Muhs-McCarten, of Kirkville, sip coffee at the new Cafe Kubal location downtown.

“There’s a science behind all this,” he quipped. “If you pay attention to 1,000 details, then that adds up to superior quality. It’s the mentality of excellence — can I make it better? You always have to strive to be the best.”

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment