Welcome to the DiscoverNEPA Coffee Club, a series for anyone who loves the smell of freshly roasted beans and the warmth of a steaming mug in their hands. We’re visiting NEPA’s local coffee shops and giving you an inside look at all they have to offer, from handcrafted drinks to cool spaces to work and hang out. Join us and discover your new favorite spot for a caffeine fix.
Fresh Brewed, Fresh Food
Tom and Patrice Bonin were driving through downtown Scranton when the old Samter’s building caught their eye. Located on the corner of Lackawanna and Penn, it was originally a high-end men’s clothing store, then a state office. But when the Bonins spotted it, the ground floor was empty—a blank slate.
“We looked in, and it was cement. I mean, it was just demolished,” Patrice recalled. “Tom was like, ‘This space is unbelievable.’ He has that eye. He was looking at the architecture and the corner space. We got in touch with the landlord to look at it, and that was it.”
It took months of hard work, but in February 2021, the Bonins officially opened Commonwealth Coffeehouse. This sleek, modern and spacious café is the perfect spot for fresh-made food and artisanal coffees and teas.
A SoHo Vibe in the Electric City
A big-city feel meets the friendly, local atmosphere of downtown Scranton.
When they were designing the space, the Bonins drew inspiration from iconic New York cafes like Balthazar and French Roast NYC. The shop definitely has a stylish, metro feel to it with stately wood-wrapped columns and ornate tin ceiling tiles. But they still stay true to Scranton’s roots with their Steamtown-themed coffee blends and logo.
“What we try to do is be respectful to the past, but also encompass good, fresh, modern ideas and activity,” explained Tom.
The coffeehouse is also home to Patrice B. & Company, a shop that sells monogrammed gifts, clothing and accessories. A half-wall separated the shop from the dining area, enticing customers to come over and browse after a coffee break. You can truly eat, drink, shop and relax under one roof.
“Life Happens, Coffee Helps”
The café serves Steamtown-inspired roasts.
Commonwealth Coffeehouse works with a roaster from Lancaster to create their own unique coffees. They’ve dialed in just the right bean profile and created blends that you’ll only find at Commonwealth (but don’t worry, you can always buy a bag to take home with you!).
Each blend is named after a train, like the Yankee Clipper, the smooth, medium-dark house blend. Their espresso is dubbed the Atlantic Express and serves as the base of everything from traditional shots and macchiatos to frothy cappuccinos and sweet lattes. The Phoebe Snow is their decaf blend, while the Buckstar Express is a bold, heavy Italian roast. And if flavored coffee is more your thing, they make the hazelnut Georgia Express.
“You can tell by all the inventory that we have and the different syrups and the different flavors that we can create any type of coffee, any creation you want, or any type of tea drink that you like,” said Tom.
Some drinks switch up with the seasons, like the Lake Cities roast. The spring edition features a light, citrus-y Costa Rican bean. Warmer weather also means that lemonade and fresh-brewed iced teas will be on the menu.
Every month, Commonwealth Coffeehouse comes up with a creative, fun drink special. In honor of the April showers, they’re making a London Fog, an Earl Grey tea latte that combines citrus-y bergamot, cozy black tea and steamed milk.
Food That’s Fresh, Simple & Downright Delish
The kitchen is just as busy as the espresso bar.
Beyond the drink menu, Commonwealth Coffeehouse also serves light, refreshing café fare. Breakfast is served daily till 11:30 and all day on Saturday, with staples like breakfast tacos, egg sandwiches, bagels and more.
“Our daily specials sell out every day,” said Tom. “Then the other popular items are our chicken and tuna salad. The Italian baguette is wonderful.”
The only thing better than a good cup of coffee is pairing it with a dessert. Commonwealth Coffeehouse bakes their own sweets like cookies, brownies and cinnamon rolls.
Discover Scranton’s Newest Coffee Shop
Stop by Commonwealth Coffeehouse in the heart of downtown Scranton.
Commonwealth Coffeehouse is located at 101 Penn Avenue, right across the street from The Marketplace at Steamtown. They’re right in the hub of downtown, just a short walk from local office buildings, medical centers, businesses, apartment complexes and more. That said, it’s a perfect spot for a coffee break or a quick lunch whenever you’re in town.
Commonwealth Coffeehouse is currently open for in-house dining and takeout. Online ordering is available.
Lake Cities No. 1 – Seasonal spring roast; a light, refreshing Costa Rican blend exclusive to Commonwealth
London Fog Latte – April’s monthly drink special; a creamy Earl Grey tea latte with a hint of bergamot; add vanilla syrup for a sweet twist
Breakfast Banderita – Signature breakfast tacos made with scrambled eggs, cheese and your choice of meat or veggies wrapped in a soft tortilla
Chicken Salad Sandwich – A lunchtime staple made with grapes, sweet onion and walnut on your choice of bread