JP’s Newest Coffee Spot: Espresso Yourself Open on Centre Street

There's a new, punnily named business in Jamaica Plain: Espresso Yourself -- likely a reference to the Madonna and N.W.A. songs "Express Yourself," and a play on the popular beverage -- is now open, offering coffee drinks, pastries and more on Centre Street. JP's latest coffee shop joins a cluster of places to get a cup of joe along Centre and South streets, including JP Licks, Caffe Nero, City Feed, Fiore's Bakery, Monumental Cupcakes and two Dunkin' Donuts. The shop opened in the last couple of weeks, and serves lattes, cafe au lait, cold brew coffee, iced coffee and, of course, espresso, alongside a lineup of pastries. Espresso Yourself took over the former Uforge Gallery space.


Caffè Nero JP Slated to Open on Thursday

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.

Caffè Nero, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

City Okays Caffè Nero’s Jamaica Plain Location

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, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Won’t Sign

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.

Michael Ford-Deegan, principal at Caffè Nero, speaks at a JP Neighborhood Council committee meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.

Neighborhood Group Won’t OK Caffè Nero Without Written Deal

A neighborhood advisory group won't give its blessing for Caffè Nero to open in JP until the international coffee house chain crafts a "memorandum of understanding" with it. The Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council voted 7-5 on Tuesday to delay up to two weeks before taking an up-or-down vote on Caffè Nero's bid to open at 733 Centre St. During that time, members of the committee and interested residents can help craft the elements that might go into the written deal. "Memorandums of Understanding" are common when new businesses open, but they are usually between the business and abutters and focus on issues like noise or delivery schedules. Several residents who attended Tuesday's meeting at Curtis Hall Community Center argued for a wider-reaching "Community Benefits Agreement."


There Are Two Meetings Tuesday About Caffe Nero’s Plan to Come to JP

A very large coffee chain in Europe, Caffe Nero, who does not regularly pay their taxes is close to coming to 733 Centre Street, right next to Blanchards. They already have one cafe in downtown Boston and plan on opening up to 10 more in the next five years. Today there is the ZBA meeting at 10:30 on the 8th floor at City Hall AND THE JPNC PUBLIC SERVICE COMT MEETING AT 7:00 TONIGHT AT CURTIS HALL where they both will address Caffe Nero. Come to one or both of the meetings if you can! And read the two quick links below for starters.

Gerry Ford, founder of Caffè Nero, makes a point during a meeting with the JP Business & Professional Assoc. on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.

JP Business Group Stands Firm on ‘No’ to Caffè Nero

Give Caffè Nero executives credit — they waded into a basement meeting room crammed with local business owners already on record as not wanting the international coffee house chain in Jamaica Plain. But while several members of the JP Business & Professional Assoc. were complimentary of the presentation and question-and-answer session provided by the U.K.-based coffee giant, Caffè Nero didn't change any votes. The presentation, the family-owned chain's third so far in JP, came Thursday during a meeting at Prudential Realty on Centre Street. Caffè Nero has a signed lease to move into 733 Centre St., across from Blanchards.

Jay Gentile, director of Caffè Nero's U.S. operations, shows a rendering of the chain's proposed JP location to board members of the Pond Association on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

Neighborhood Group Okays Caffè Nero By Wide Margin

While two local business organizations — JP Local First and the JP Business & Professional Association — have come out strongly against Caffè Nero opening in JP, the first neighborhood group to hold a vote gave it strong support. On Monday night the European coffee giant, a family-owned company that has grown to more than 650 cafes in seven countries, sought the blessing of the Jamaica Pond Association for the city licenses they'll need. The coffee house aims to open at 733 Centre St. That's the former Commonwealth Bank location across from Blanchards. London-based Caffè Nero brought significant executive firepower to Monday's meeting, including Michael Ford-Deegan, brother of the company's founder, Gerry.

Rendering of interior for Caffè Nero's 733 Centre St. location showing window onto Blanchards.

Caffè Nero Jamaica Plain: Here’s What It Would Look Like

Caffè Nero, a chain of European coffee houses aiming to open on Centre Street beside Blanchards, showed the Jamaica Pond Association renderings Monday night. Take a look. Two local business organizations — JP Local First and the JP Business & Professional Association — have come out against the family-owned coffee house opening in JP. On Monday night the Pond Association voted strongly not to oppose Caffè Nero. Here are the rest of the renderings.

Caffè Nero, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

Sneak Peek: What Caffè Nero Jamaica Plain Might Look Like

A UK-based coffeehouse, Caffè Nero, plans to open in Jamaica Plain. It would be the international chain's second location in the United States. For a preview of what JP could expect, we hopped the Orange Line for a look at their Downtown Crossing location. The Millennium Place Caffè Nero is at 560 Washington St., across the street from the Paramount Theatre. There's sidewalk seating.