by Emily Kovach
Maura Rosato, Lindsay Ferguson and Valentina Fortuna met the way so many chance encounters begin: at work. In 2013, they were all employed by The Farm and The Fisherman Tavern & Market, and all felt a natural connection with one another. A year later, Rosato and Fortuna kicked around the idea of hosting a pop-up dinner together, but before long, they were already dreaming much bigger. The idea of opening a café got stuck in their heads, and they set forth to see what was possible.
In the beginning of 2015, they signed a lease for a kitchen space at The Factory in Collingswood, New Jersey, a member-based co-op space for artists, and began the slog of converting the zoning to commercial and starting on renovations. On March 27 of that same year, they held a “kitchen warming party,” which they still consider to be the true beginning of their business. The Constellation Collective brick-and-mortar café in downtown Collingswood came later that year, in October.
They’ve been hustling ever since (Ferguson is out on maternity leave “till an unknown date”), doing everything from “the biscuits to the books,” as they put it. Rosato and Fortuna chose Collingswood because they have roots there from growing up in New Jersey, and it appears that the town shares that sense of connection—the spot quickly became a community favorite for coffee, treats, lunch and brunch.
Constellation Collective serves a full coffee menu from Revolution Coffee Roasters, another local business, which roasts a custom blend of Ethiopian yirgacheffe and Papua New Guinea beans specifically for the shop. The duo spends lots of time in the kitchen, cooking and baking everything from scratch, and sourcing from local and responsible farmers and producers as often as possible.
“We roll with the seasons, and mostly we like to feature our fave farmer D&V Organics’ produce,” Rosato says. Savory dishes such as hot chicken biscuits, frittatas, waffles and tacos, and sweets including French toast, housemade doughnuts and coconut macaroons are all on rotating offer.
What does the future hold? “We definitely have the desire to keep this party going,” she says, “but there’s nothing firm planned yet… We’re open to whatever our fair universe brings us!”
685 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, N.J.