It’s a modern day renaissance for one local coffeehouse.
MaryAnn Kearns and Kelley Lynch – two sisters with deeply planted Bay Ridge roots – have taken back what was once theirs with the grand re-opening of Caffe Café, a neighborhood mainstay that’s been brewing at the corner of Third Avenue and 84th Street for more than 20 years.
“We’re so excited to be back,” said Kearns, who ran the small business for the majority of its time on the busy Brooklyn strip, but passed the torch to new owners in 2010 so she could retire.
But, when the opportunity arose to buy it back, the sisters say they didn’t think twice.
“We really felt like we could do it,” said Lynch, new to the idea of running a business but certainly not to the business itself. “We saw that people in the community really missed the old Caffe Café, and we really felt like we could get it back to the way its original owners intended it to be.”
The java shop – specializing in both brews and teas – also offers up a quick bite, from freshly pressed paninis to tempting pies and cakes (and – now that Kearns is back behind the counter – its once sought-after holiday gift baskets she so carefully custom-makes).
“I like to think that it’s a sort of glue in the community,” said Lynch, calling the café a neighborhood niche unmatched by any nearby franchise. “It’s personal here. Everybody meets here, and everybody knows your name. There’s really no coffee or teahouse like it.”
“It’s always been sort of an anchor business on Third,” added Bob Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue. “It just adds to the ambiance and attractiveness of the avenue. It’s another reason to stroll, and we’re very glad they are open.”
Bay Ridge is, too.
According to Kearns, the community’s excitement could be felt even in the weeks leading up to the re-opening, which took place on Sunday, December 13.
“All month long, you could feel it,” she said. “The response has been really positive and the support has been overwhelming.”