The Blend, located on East Fordham Road between Hoffman Street and Arthur Avenue, serves as a convenient place for university students to socialize and relax.
The Bronx is not the typical college town. Fordham Road is not a sea of maroon shirts and flags on game days. Few to no professors live anywhere near campus. Most of the businesses and restaurants — while supported by Fordham students — seem like they could get along fine without us. One local café is an exception: The Blend Café, on Fordham Road, just west of Arthur Avenue.
Sue Fleming, FCRH ‘96, owns The Blend with her husband Bill Fleming, GSB ’95. She says she and Bill started The Blend to enhance the off-campus life. “We wanted to provide something that wasn’t here.”
Sue knows the needs of Fordham students quite intimately. She and her husband are, of course, Fordham graduates with long-standing ties to Rose Hill and the Belmont community of which their business is now a part. Sue’s sister went to Fordham, and their father is a “Golden Ram,” having graduated from the University more than 50 years ago.
She says there was nothing like The Blend near campus when she attended school here, and she was disappointed that there were so few places for students to gather socially off-campus. Any weekend spent at the corner of 189th and Arthur could lead many students to the same conclusion.
Now her business is filling that social gap, not just as a coffee shop and café, but also as Fordham’s newest nightlife destination. The Blend obtained a liquor license in the spring of 2012 and started selling alcohol at the beginning of the academic year around September.
Fleming says she did not open The Blend with the intention of serving alcohol, but she was willing to change with the Fordham community in mind.
“We were approached by a number of school groups, non-profits and local organizations that wanted to hold events here, and it just seemed incomplete without the option to serve alcohol,” Fleming said.
Fleming sees The Blend as an alternative spot for students who wish to go out.
“I think the connotation that alcohol is always associated with things that are inappropriate isn’t necessarily correct. So we wanted to provide a venue where responsible 21-year-olds could gather and enjoy a cocktail and enjoy their friendship,” she said.
Nights at The Blend have already earned such a reputation — several students surveyed knew that The Blend was strict about enforcing the 21+ age legal limit. This age policy, however, applies only to the events that serve alcohol, like recent trivia nights and open mic nights. Other events, like last month’s Go! El Salvador fundraiser, have no age limit.
The Blend has been filling its schedule lately, hosting events like a Bronx AIDS fundraiser and Fordham Campus Ministry’s “Theology on Tap” event. Fleming has been pleased.
“For me, [last semester] was probably the culmination of many years of what we were looking to do: have a wide-ranging number of events, hosting people in the community who are committed to what they do, who are dedicated to good causes and have a network of folks that they like to share that with,” Fleming said.
Nights at The Blend Café are typically held outside its normal operating hours of 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fleming says students can keep up with events and more by searching for The Blend Café on Facebook.