A London-based coffee shop with a smattering of locations around the Boston area is getting ready to open its newest suburban location. Caffe Nero could debut as early as next week in Wellesley, according to Jay Gentile, Caffe Nero’s director of U.S. operations.
The company has spent the better part of a year working to renovate its newest space, the historic Wellesley Hills station, which "we have kind of painstakingly brought back to life and brought back to its original time," Gentile said.
According to Gentile, Caffe Nero’s growth has always been organic and opportunistic. When they hear of locations that might be suitable, he said, "we check them out and we try to see if we’ll fit in that market and if it’s a good thing."
In the case of Wellesley, there was existing demand in the market for the cafe. After settling on the location, Caffe Nero worked closely with Wellesley’s historic commission during the buildout. The new cafe will have a European feel, like the existing locations, with reclaimed wood, library pieces, and imported antique chairs, with an elegant flare. "There's a real sense of Europe," Gentile said.
Caffe Nero has final inspections for Wellesley scheduled for the end of this week, and Gentile said if everything goes smoothly, the cafe will open next week. Wellesley joins existing locations in Downtown Crossing, Jamaica Plain, Longwood, and the South End.
Caffe Nero will also open a location in Cambridge's Central Square, an area the company had its eye on for some time, according to Gentile. "I think that one, you’ll see, will be a little more urban, a little more cutting-edge design," he said.
Gentile also confirmed that Caffe Nero is in the process of finalizing a lease for a space in Brookline’s Washington Square, as Boston Restaurant Talk reported.
"It’s really kind of getting to be a hot square in Brookline," Gentile said, and it’s the prime location for a Caffe Nero, on a main street. People who have heard the news so far have been thrilled, he said.
There are no opening dates set for those two cafes yet, because getting the necessary permits and documents in order is a long process in Massachusetts, Gentile said, but that’s only part of the equation.
"For us it’s important that we really get the buy in," he said. "It’s all about becoming a local coffee house. It’s important that the neighbors are happy and comfortable with what we’re doing."