I spend time in the West End a few times a week so I know how hard it is to find a coffee shop that’s not chained to a corporation. So when I first visited this shop, I was taken back by the smell of freshly cooked pizza that greeted me at the door. It’s been little while since I’ve been back for a cup-a-joe, so if you make it to Caffespresso in the west let me know what you think and if anything has changed since I’ve been working at a desk downtown.
Here’s your “free refill” from in the ToGo cup…
CAFFESPRESSO Gaskins Place, 1127 Gaskins Road, RVA 23238 caffespressocart.com
Just when you think the West End of Richmond is absent of anything outside of chain stores housed in the multitude of strip malls and the mammoth “Disneyland” like shopping area that is Short Pump Town Center, you’ll find a special little coffee shop on Gaskins Road near Patterson Avenue. Caffespresso can be easily missed while driving by the small shopping center it’s located in, but if you look for it you’ll find a place that is well worth the trek from any part of the city.
The location is neat and quiet, pushed back from Gaskins Road, the shop offers a quiet that you would be hard pressed to find in the Short Pump area as the traffic situation would lead you to pulling out your hair or grinding your teeth.
As you walk in, the aroma will stop you in your tracks and make you inhale deeply. Soon you’ll realize there is something here that goes beyond being a coffee shop, there’s baking with a strong Italian heritage happening here.
There’s seating inside and outside on the side-walk for the warmer days. The sofas in the front and the back of the coffee shop, as well as tables lining the wall and in the center of the yellow and brown, stucco finished dining room. Pictures for sale are hung “salon style” on the wall feature photography with a “view of Italy” theme to them.
If your day takes you to the far West End, where the choices of shopping are seemingly endless as you wander pass all of the faux facades of new construction attempting to drum up a perception of classic architecture, take a chance and venture south on Gaskins. Right before you get to Patterson you’ll find Caffespresso. They’ll serve up your coffee, sandwich or baked good and make you glad you took a break from the colorfully polished insanity on West Broad Street.
and with that said, on to the specs…
the place – what’s around?
There’s really nothing that would be considered a destination for anyone from outside the immediate area. With the apartments and the suburban neighborhoods that surround the area, they have choices from grocery shopping, a memorial park across the street to a fitness club next door. Other than that, I feel like the shop is a destination of its own.
parking – parking lot or “fan” like?
Parking lot– park only a short walk away or right up to the sidewalk. It doesn’t seem like this area will have a large influx of customers clambering for a space to park their SUVs.
coffee- good, bad or mugly?
Pretty good cup of coffee, the CAFE MONTE’ house blend is smooth and not bitter, and it comes in a good-sized mug. If you’re up for a refresher it’ll be free, so go ahead and drop a few coins in the tip jar for appreciation.
menu- bunch or linner?
They have a great menu of panins created on “freshly made” focaccia bread with a number of specialty beverages and some breakfast items for your morning start. If you have a taste for sweets they have homemade baked goods that will do just fine with your cup. BTW…the barista just pulled out a pizza from the oven…mmmm!
art – rotating or fixture?
Fixture – It looks like the photos by Sandee Cosby are here to sell. They fit the theme and the feel of the coffee shop perfectly and the “salon style” of hanging doesn’t seem over the top, and work to add a visual balance to the room.
music- overbearing or background?
Background- Right now its a mix of contemporary italian “hits”. It’s quiet enough to allow the conversations to take place using a normal speaking volume. That adds to a relaxed atmosphere inside the shop.
baristas- friend or foe?
Friend- the seem really friendly and ready to spark a witty dialogue with the customers that come in. Also they helped with the many questions I had about the coffee and were knowledgeable about the products they sell.
noticeable regulars – “cheers” or who are these people?
Cheers- I noticed the majority of the customers that come in seem really familiar with the folks behind the counter. The appeal is apparent, because of the food menu and the coffee, let alone the calm location, I can see why people keep coming back.
hi-fi – wi-not or wi-bother?
free wi-fi- Its password protected so you have to get the code from the barista. Although today I noticed there was no signal when I first started working, so I had to “leech” off another network close by. It seems to be working now though.
seating & meeting – ample or not enough
Ample- 7 tables big enough for two chairs and a round one good enough for three chairs. There’s a sofa at the front of the shop by the window and the sofas and chair in the back under the windows at the rear. Some seating is available outside on the sidewalk for those nicer days when the temperature is more accommodating.
workspace – second office or read the paper?
um…read the paper – there are few sockets to plug into around the room so you’ll be on battery power if you don’t score one of the tables that are close to them. The tables can hold your laptop, but if you want to enjoy your panini, you have to put the computer off to the side. This place is well suited for hanging out so you may want to unplug, read the paper or a book for a while or have a conversation with friends.
clean or not so much
clean and comfortable – well organized with an assortment of items to choose from on the counter or in the display cases.
You can easily pass by Caffespresso if your not looking for it, but if you know where to look, it’ll be one of the few places you’ll find in the West End that’s unique to the area and not part of a large, impersonal chain of coffee shops masking as a local favorite. The best part is, you’ll be far from the colorful chaos of Short Pump.
Thanx for viewing.