Caffè Nero is set to open its JP location on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Credit: Chris Helms
Jamaica Plain's newest coffee shop, Caffè Nero, is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Thursday. While many residents have welcomed the family-owned coffee house, others decry an international chain planting its flag in competition with mom-and-pop coffee purveyors. Caffè Nero has said it aims to provide a European-style coffee house where guests are encouraged to linger and talk.
Despite opposition from some residents who wanted to keep the international chain out of JP — but with strong support from others — the city's Licensing Board approved Caffè Nero's permit to serve food. This means the European-style coffee house has cleared all the red tape it needs before opening across from Blanchards. The Licensing Board granted the "common victualers" license on Thursday after delaying its decision to hear from a committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. "We're very excited about becoming a part of the community," said Jay Gentile, director of U.S. operations for the coffee house, in a Monday phone conversation. The news will delight some residents and disappoint others.
Caffè Nero, the international coffee house chain on the verge of gaining approval to open in JP, committed verbally to a list of neighborhood demands but won't sign the document. Jay Gentile, who runs U.S. operations for the family-owned company, told attendees of a Tuesday community meeting that his firm was "fully committed" to being a good neighbor and should be judged a year from now on how they actually perform. "When lawyers get involved, it gets messy," Gentile told the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. "It's an uncomfortable feeling." The 733 Centre St.
Happy Election Day! Here's your Morning Memo for all things JP for Tuesday, Nov. 4. Neighborhood Group to Vote on Caffè Nero: Tuesday at 7 p.m. could be the neighborhood's last chance to weigh in on Caffè Nero's plan to open their second U.S. coffee house at 733 Centre St. That's the meeting of the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council.
The city's Licensing Board will wait to hear from a JP neighborhood group before deciding whether to give a European coffee house approval to open. As expected, the Licensing Board heeded a request by the JP Neighborhood Council's Michael Reiskind to delay any decision until at least Tuesday's meeting of a committee that's crafting a "memo of understanding" between the neighborhood and Caffè Nero. That meeting will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Curtis Hall, 20 South St. The coffee house chain aims to open their second North American location at 733 Centre St. The international company has drawn push-back from some neighbors who prefer locally-owned businesses and strong support from others.