Riverdale’s Best Coffee for College Students on a Budget

Delicious and affordable java does exist in our Bronx neighborhood, and here’s where to find it.

To many college students keeping up with classes, jobs, and the general daily grind of New York City, there are three unalienable rights that exist: life, liberty, and the pursuit of great coffee.

This is rarely truer than when you're amid a late-night study session during finals week, or on your first day commuting to the dream internship you landed downtown. Keys, coat, and MetroCard are all in hand; you’re about ready to hit the pavement. En route to the No. 1 train, numerous cafés and shops in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area serve up delicious and strong java at prices affordable to college students on a budget. Several are located within half a mile of Manhattan College, which makes skipping a daily dose of caffeine a thing of the past. Phew!

Riverdale's Best Coffee

  • Corner Café Restaurant & Bakery

    Image of waffle and other food items on lunch table of Riverdale restaurant.

    Order the coffee, but also the Mediterranean platter, the whole wheat waffles, and everything else on the menu of the Corner Café Restaurant & Bakery, which has been a mainstay on Riverdale Avenue since 1989. Co-owner Cochava Dubin’s native roots (she grew up and was trained in Israel) shine through the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare served here, which is a must-try by foodies the world over. Corner Café plays the perfect host to a deep dish session with girlfriends, and is also a great option for a grab-and-go iced coffee and pastry. Both items leave you with good feelings that last long after the No. 1 train leaves from its 238th Street station.

  • Moss Café

    An outside image of the storefront of Moss Cafe, a Riverdale restaurant.

    If the marshy wall art that adorns the tiny front room of Moss Café doesn’t connote a warm and fuzzy feeling immediately upon entering this idyllic eatery, the taste of its Stumptown coffee sure will. Most every table on a given weekday afternoon can be seen filled with patrons tapping away on laptops or meeting friends for a quick lunch, who have the same intention: to cozy up with some healthy grub and even better coffee. With its personalized touches and extensive drink menu pleasing to any type of caffeine addict, Moss Café is an asset to both Johnson Avenue, and the wider Riverdale area.

  • Mon Amour Coffee & Wine

    Image of a coffee cup and croissant on table.
    Mon Amour Coffee & Wine serves up style, charm, and exceptional espresso. Situated at the foot of the 238th Street station, the pinstriped awning and string of icicle lights of this French-style pâtisserie and coffee shop sets it apart from other businesses on the block. Enthusiasm emanates from co-owner Jeffrey Garcia, who is a familiar face behind the counter, and whose commitment to great coffee drinks, pastries, and flatbreads always results in the deep satisfaction of his customers.
  • Dunkin' Donuts

    Cartoon video of Dunkin' Donuts box opening and closing.
    Although chain establishments are often shunned by coffee aficionados, Dunkin’ Donuts is a tried and true American staple. Plus, it’s nearby – with a location at both the Van Cortlandt Park/242nd Street and 238th Street subway stops, a flavored iced coffee is always within reach before sweltering mornings in the city. Late risers can place orders in advance by downloading the DD Perks app – we’ll take a large hazelnut iced coffee and a glazed Dunkin’ donut to go, please!
  • Riverdale Deli-Grocery

    Image of man serving items to patrons in delicatessen.

    Behold the hidden art of New York City bodega coffee. Located just steps from the 242nd Street-Van Cortlandt Park subway station, Riverdale Deli-Grocery is not only conveniently located, but also is inexpensive – with a small cup of joe priced at just a buck, morning satisfaction can’t be bought much cheaper. And the taste? Close your eyes and you might just think you’re at an artisanal eatery in the heart of Manhattan.

  • Caffe Buon Gusto

    Image of bar area in Riverdale restaurant.
    A slice of cheesecake with your Americano? Yes please! The wide array of menu offerings and extended hours at Caffe Buon Gusto make this cafe a literal one-stop shop for caffeine jolts and quick bites all day long. In the evenings, the business hosts live music and local art, and serves dinner, making it an ideal date locale.
  • Starbucks, Kelly Commons

    Image of Starbucks kiosk in Kelly Commons.
    As advisers on coffee-serving establishments near campus, we’d be remiss not to mention the one inside campus, the Starbucks kiosk on the first floor of the Kelly Commons. We understand that sometimes, especially for those living on campus, nothing hits the spot during a sweets craving like a Java Chip FrappuccinoⓇ, or, when in need of a finals week pick-me-up, a double shot of espresso on the run.
By Christine Loughran