Monkeys Frolic in Java Existence, An Interview with Rodrigo Fritz of Cheeky Monkey


By Debbie Burke

The almost half-year old Stroudsburg coffeehouse with the monkey décor serves as a comfy, wi-fi’ed venue for open mic, smooth jazz, literary gatherings and poetry readings (see sidebar), and offers among its treats and eats, superior carrot cake. PBJ spoke with owner Rodrigo Fritz.

PBJ: Is this a franchise or an indie?
Rodrigo Fritz: Cheeky Monkey Coffee House is a Stroudsburg Original.

PBJ: When did you open?
March 1 of this year

PBJ: How did you come up with the name?
We have always enjoyed British comedies. The term “cheeky monkey” is often used in British movies and also when referring to naughty or mischievous children.

PBJ: Have you run this sort of business before?

PBJ: Why specifically did you choose downtown Stroudsburg?
We live in the area and being next to the Sherman was a big factor too.

PBJ: Where do you find the talent to come perform, exhibit their art, etc.?
Word of mouth.

PBJ: Are you an artist or musician yourself?
I have dabbled in the arts…

PBJ: Are you getting busier?
Yes, we have been getting a steady flow of customers.

PBJ: Is entertainment an expense that people are slowly incurring more often, or is the unemployment rate still affecting how often people come out to hear music and poetry?
We believe it is not an economical thing but more of a cultural thing. More people are looking to support local arts and artist. We are supplying the venue for that.

PBJ: How do you drive people to come to your establishment?
We advertise in the Pocono Record with the Sherman Theater and also inside the Sherman. And word of mouth is king.

PBJ: What’s the hardest thing as a business owner?
Choosing where to invest money in order to get customers in.

PBJ: What business support groups have you joined or are considering?
Sherman Theater supporter, Chamber of Commerce and we are looking into the Jacob
Stroud group.

PBJ: Who is your largest audience- is it college students, residents, visitors, or other?
All of these are our targets.

PBJ: What advice do you have for prospective new business owners?
Patience, patience and location, location….

PBJ: What is your five year plan?
We would like to have several CMCH establishments in a similar setting to downtown Stroudsburg. Also, focus on a drive-thru location.

PBJ: Other comments?
Come on down to Cheeky Monkey Coffee House and taste the difference. You will never go back to the big corporate coffee places.

(All photos by Paul Adam Smeltz, The Forwardian Arts Society.)

An Open Gathering à la Cheeky

Paul Adam Smeltz

A sizable crowd came to The Forwardian Arts Society’s first Literary Lovers’ Gathering for 2010 on May 27 at The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, which was followed by an open reading led by Joseph T. Landolfa titled “Just Say It.” The gathering provided an opportunity for writers and poets to share their work while receiving feedback from their peers and others who love the art of words.

While most of the readings were of a poetic nature, the writers who attended also practiced in other forms such as articles, novels, and children’s literature. The event grew as Joseph T. Landolfa and poets who were a part of the “Just Say It” open readings entered the coffeehouse. Conversations continued and changed as poetry previous unheard that evening moved among the attendees. It was good to experience this outpouring of affection for the art.

The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse offers a variety of coffee, drinks, and culinary treats along with events such as the ones described in this article. The next “Just Say It” open reading is scheduled to take place Thursday, June 3 and every following Thursday at 7 p.m. while The Forwardian Arts Society’s next Literary Lovers’ Gathering will take place there on Thursday, June 24 at 6 p.m. In addition to these events, Lens Jams is scheduled to perform at Cheeky on Wednesday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. featuring smooth jazz and rock on acoustic guitars, and Apezilla on Saturdays beginning at 6 p.m. featuring pop and classic rock. Contact The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse at (570) 420-8222 for more information.

Caption: Poet and author Alexandra C. Carpenter shares her words during The Forwardian Arts Society’s first Literary Arts Gathering for 2010, held at Cheeky Monkey.

Paul Adam Smeltz is facilitator of The Forwardian Arts Society, a fellowship for people who love the arts. For more information visit