From it’s beginnings as a unique coffee and dessert spot to now serving lunches and catering events, Spressos at 160 Brooks Road, is celebrating 15 years in business this year.
Co-owner Lorie Guerrieri said the years have gone fast, but she and husband, Mario, have enjoyed success with their little coffeehouse. Even daughters Lauren and Leanna, who have now graduated college and are working, grew up working at and learning the business.
“We’ve had a lot of good times,” Lorie said. “Of course we’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s a lot of work, but it’s been a great experience.”
Lorie worked for U.S. Airways but after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, she, along with several co-workers, lost their local jobs. So it was time for her to find a new niche.
“I’ve always loved coffee, and anytime Mario and I traveled anywhere, we were always sure to find a small coffeehouse to visit,” Guerrieri said.
Soon after losing her job at the airlines, Lorie said she started a small home-based business — the Small Batch Cookie Co., taking advantage of her baking skills.
“I did that out of my house for about a year,” she said. “I love desserts, and then I realized there were plenty of restaurants and places to go eat” in Rome, “but there wasn’t anywhere you could go just to have a cup of coffee and bite of dessert afterwards. So I wanted to have a place where you can come have coffee and dessert, and just sit and relax. We just evolved from that.”
Guerrieri promises that she and her staff are well-trained baristas who know how to make the perfectly crafted specialty drinks like cappuccinos, espressos, specialty lattes like caramel and mocha, frappes, hot chocolate, chai tea lattes, hot steamers and iced coffee. Spressos employs about a dozen servers.
From specialty coffees and home-baked desserts, Spressos now also serves breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast items include sweet and savory paninis; bagel, croissant, toast and burrito sandwiches, quiche and oatmeal.
For lunch, there are paninis, over-stuffed deli sandwiches, wraps, salads and Lorie’s homemade soups.
“There’s nothing like it in Rome,” said Lorie of her shop and menus. “We start our day with breakfast foods and customers can have lunch all day.”
Being located at Griffiss Business and Technology Park, “We always get new customers, besides our loyal customers from Rome,” she said. “And we see much growth coming. It’s bringing more people to this area who may not even normally come here.”
Of course, one of Spressos’ biggest draws continues to be its hand-crafted specialty coffees and drinks, but its foods are becoming increasingly popular as well, Guerrieri said.
She and Mario “went to trade shows and and learned from vendors” how to craft the perfect coffee, the co-owner said. “Every week we get fresh beans shipped here.” Our bean vendor “has created our own medium blend offered here, but we have a dark roast too.”
The Guerrieris also believe in using all natural products that are kind to the environment, and make their drinks taste better.
“We don’t have foam, we use all paper products,” Lorie said. “We also have the top-notch brand (flavor) syrups and other name-brand products.”
Besides what can be found at the coffeehouse, Spressos also offers a special catering service for businesses and small private events. There are bakery and breakfast trays available like cookie and mini pastry trays, scones, bagels, muffins and fresh quiche that include bacon and cheddar, artichoke with red peppers and mozzarella and spinach and feta cheese. Lunch catering items include wrap sandwich platters, baked macaroni and cheese, Italian pasta salad and mini croissant sandwiches.
Guerrieri said Spressos also keeps its in-shop cooler stocked with “grab-and-go” food items that include sandwiches, yogurts and quarts of soup for those in a rush. Items offered are changed daily, she said.
And to keep up with today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, customers can place their orders at www.spressos.com.
“Customers can actually order and pay online,” Guerrieri said. “So they can place their order on the computer and then come in and we’ll have it all set and ready to go for them.”
Spressos is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The coffeehouse is closed on Sundays.