Next week, coffee drinkers in the Downtown area will have a new place to get their caffeine fix, but a familiar face may be who greets them at the counter. Alessandro “San” Bellino, who has brought his roving espresso bar The Coffee Trike to Dewey Square on nice days since 2012, is part of the team getting ready to open Gracenote Coffee Boston in the Leather District.
The cafe is the first brick-and-mortar shop for the undeniably fit barista, and it’s also the first branded shop for Gracenote Coffee Roasters. The Coffee Trike was the Berlin, Massachusetts roaster’s first Boston account, Bellino said, and his professional relationship with Gracenote’s connoisseur, Patrick Barter, turned into a friendship. “I wanted a partner to do the next project as opposed to doing it solo, so we decided to do it together as friends and business partners,” Bellino said.
The coffeeshop is also coming together thanks to some forward-thinking folks in the development business, Noam Ron and Jesse Baerkahn. Ron owns the 1,100-square foot space at 108 Lincoln Street, and he reached out to Bellino some time ago about opening up permanent shop there. “It would be too big for me, though. Eleven hundred square feet is a lot to handle,” Bellino said.
At the time, both men were also in touch with Baerkahn, founder of retail development and urban advisory firm Graffito SP. “[His] office a static business that doesn’t really engage the community the way a coffeeshop does,” Bellino explained.
It was Baerkahn’s idea to use the space for his office as well as Bellino’s project—not only reducing the cost of rent for both parties, but also activating that corner for the city. “It’s definitely a considered place,” Bellino said. “And they’ll have a coffeeshop in their office, which is pretty fun.”
Fun, indeed. Gracenote Coffee Boston will only take up about 240 square feet, so while it won’t necessarily be a place to hole up all day with a bottomless cup of java and a laptop, it will be a social experience.
Bellino said he wanted to mimic what it’s like to order from The Coffee Trike, where “People talk and interact. There’s not really a lot of barriers in between customer and service.” The cafe’s compact space helps achieve that goal, as does the high-end equipment Bellino and Barter chose, like the sleek Modbar espresso machine, which is mostly hidden under the counter.
But guests can linger. There’s a live-edge, olive standing bar, creating a welcome, Italian-style place to watch the goings on outside on Tufts and Lincoln streets. “In this area, I think people do sit down all day, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to stand,” Bellino said.
The shop will offer all manner of specialty espresso drinks, drip coffee, nitro-poured iced coffee, Assam tea and two rotating seasonal blends, and “a really stunning hot chocolate” from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate out of Eureka, California. Gracenote’s mocha will be made with Dick Taylor’s Madagascar chocolate, and the company’s bars will also be for sale. Bellino is currently nailing down which local pastry company will provide the shop its baked goods, but he said those will be available on opening day.
When Gracenote Coffee Boston opens, it will start out serving from 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekends, but hours could be adjusted, Bellino said.
108 Lincoln St., Boston; gracenoteboston.wordpress.com.
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