Photo courtesy of Rock 'n' Joe.

Music soothes the savage beast and, if you’re not a morning person, so does coffee. Rock ‘n’ Joe combines both.

The Pittsburgh-based coffee franchise, which has a shop Downtown at 524 Penn Avenue — as well as spots in Nebraska and New Jersey — launched a regional expansion last week with the opening of its Gibsonia location.

There are plans to build 10 stores throughout the Pittsburgh market over the next three years.

“We want to be the place where people come to experience coffee’s true nature,” says Chris Potenza, owner and president of the company. “It is all about creating the best cup of coffee, from the best beans and perfect roast to the knowledgeable baristas. From varieties like Velvet Underground and Sledgehammer to the music played and look of the store, Rock ‘n’ Joe blends award-winning coffee with rock ‘n’ roll energy.”

Potenza, a New York native, moved to Pittsburgh more than a decade ago to attend college. He’s been involved with Rock ‘n’ Joe since 2013, and became a minority partner two years later, just prior to opening the Downtown location as a franchisee. On December 9, 2019, he acquired the remainder of the company. His goal? To make his brand center stage on the local coffee scene.

“These days we like to incorporate a diverse selection of music in our stores,” he says. “We focus on selecting great music that everyone can relate to, from classic rock to modern hits and everything in between. We’re always updating our playlists and open to suggestions, whether it be from employees or customers.”

In addition to good tunes, Rock ‘n’ Joe customers can get artfully decorated espresso drinks and seasonal specials (all served hot, iced or frozen), fresh pastries and an assortment of breakfast and lunch options.

Located at 617 Warrendale Road near the Treesdale community, the Gibsonia spot features a large outdoor patio and drive-through service. Eventually, it will host live musical performances.

And while COVID-19 has put large-scale concerts on hold, Potenza is moving forward to find more franchisees and amplify the Rock ‘n’ Joe experience.

“Honestly, it has been tough watching our friends and fellow business owners struggle through these uncertain times,” he says. “Throughout this, we’ve continued to remain focused on our expansion plans and realize we are very fortunate that we’ve been able to do so.”

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.