This New Coffee Bar Wants to Put Women’s Empowerment Front and Center
A Kickstarter just reached its goal to bring this woman-owned-and-operated coffee bar to Westchester.
Illustrations by David Douglass
Marches, #MeToo Movements, and record-breaking sexual-harassment settlements — women’s issues are clearly at the forefront of the American consciousness. But for Joanna Prisco, founder of The Good Witch, a Kickstarter-funded coffee-bar-in-progress that’s “owned, operated by, and dedicated to empowering women,” it was also becoming a mom that propelled her to do something more for women in her community. “I’m a working mom, and I would say that it’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot,” says Prisco. “[This is] a time when we should be lifting each other up and celebrating the achievements of women. In thinking about the type of business I wanted to run, I felt like…I want to engage and support other women.”
Owner Joanna Prisco
In early 2018, Prisco took her pop-up concept, The Good Witch (named for The Wizard of Oz actress and former Westchester resident, Billie Burke) to Kickstarter. The campaign, appropriately launched on International Women’s Day, quickly raised $15,000 to open a brick-and-mortar location in Hastings-on-Hudson or one of the neighboring Rivertowns, slated to open in about six months. (You can still pledge money and receive rewards like a spot on the planned “Wall of Femme” or a kid-sized OG Munchkins shirt.) “Up until now, I’ve been a one-woman show,” says Prisco. “What’s been pretty incredible about the Kickstarter is that once people saw what I was doing and read about the idea, I’ve had so many individuals reach out to me wanting to collaborate, to help, to get involved in different ways.”
The space will be a family- and stroller-friendly all-day café serving hot and cold-brew Parlor Coffee, plus a full menu of breakfast and lunch items. “The items have been inspired by memories and travels abroad,” explains Prisco. “We’ve got different ethnic reference points sprinkled throughout.” From her pop-ups at the Hastings and Irvington farmers’ markets, the most popular treat has been the mini mochi cakes (pictured above, left), sweet rice-flour cakes that are chewy, dense, and flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Once the brick-and-mortar opens, Prisco plans to also introduce Incredible Hulk-green pandan waffles (pictured above, center), inspired by Vietnamese street food and flavored with the floral, vanilla-like ingredient, and a spicy California-style riff on an egg sandwich that’s lighter than its New York counterparts.
The Good Witch will also serve as a community gathering point with workshops, panels, and other events aimed at bringing the community together. “We’re planning to put out a rotating menu of specials with proceedes directed toward female- and family-focused non-profits like She Should Run, I AM THAT GIRL, and Dress for Success,” says Prisco. There will also be a larder of women-produced products, including breads from NYC’s Hot Bread Kitchen.
“There are three things that you should get when you come to The Good Witch,” promises Prisco. “You should be able to get a delicious cup of coffee and treat. You should feel welcome as a women in an environment that celebrates women…and you should feel like you can do something small and actionable by visiting a local business.”