After closing its downtown shop during the pandemic, Spella Caffè is doing something unusual for a business that shuttered in the city’s core: reopening in the same neighborhood.
Founder Andrea Spella tells WW the new outpost will be located in the former Moonstruck Chocolate store at 608 SW Alder St. That’s in the Selling Building, which is owned by the Schlesinger family, who’ve partnered with Spella on this project. The Portland Business Journal first reported the news.
The 17-year-old company had been operating out of a shop at Southwest 5th Avenue and Alder Street. Spella says that location became unsafe once COVID emptied the surrounding office buildings of their workers (and potential customers), then drug-related activity took off on relatively empty blocks.
“This particular block feels much safer. There’s more traffic on it, both foot and car,” Spella says. “Closer to Pioneer Square and all the hotels, it just feels right.”
The new shop takes its inspiration from a classic Italian cafe without alcohol. Spella describes the space as “light and airy with tall ceilings,” and a soothing soundtrack of jazz and classical music will accompany your jolt of caffeine.
Spella promises a tight menu of beverage staples, like espressos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes and cold brew. The shop will also serve chai, which is made with the brand’s own recipe. Customers can also buy beans and chocolate to take home.
The new location has actually long been on Spella’s radar. When he moved to Portland 22 years ago, he had aspirations of opening an authentic Italian cafe there if it ever became available to lease. Moving there not only fulfills that wish, the company founder gets to support downtown—a part of Portland he cares about deeply.
“I have always been committed to downtown; I live here too! Right by PSU on the Park Blocks,” Spella tells WW. “I consider it a community just like everywhere else in Portland; people live and work here and want fine services just as much as the rest of the city. Someone has to keep the faith and keep the energy downtown going strong, to help us recover.”
The new shop should open in September.