Newtonville has now become the best place around Boston College to get a cup of coffee, with Starbucks, Dunkin’, George Howell Coffee, and now Caffè Nero, which opened its newest location in late August, standing within a quarter mile of each other.
Caffè Nero’s strong brews, extensive menu, proximity to campus, and substantial amount of seating make it a great location for weekend study grinds, especially since many other nearby options are so often full due to capacity restrictions.
“George Howell is almost always full, and Starbucks isn’t always my cup of tea—sorry for the pun,” said local resident Bryan Barash. “I love all the outdoor and indoor seating. Caffè Nero is fantastic.”
Another patron said that Caffè Nero offers a better atmosphere for getting work done.
“I like George Howell and tend to go in there when I’m looking for a better coffee drink,” said Newton resident Chuck Tanowitz. “Still, it’s not a place where I spend a couple of hours on a laptop.”
The Caffè Nero in Newtonville follows the theme of the company’s other locations with its earth-toned color scheme and cozy yet industrial interior. High ceilings, exposed pipes, hanging Edison bulbs, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and ample space filled with mismatched tables and seating contribute to the homey feelings of the café.
Many of the café’s customers are young adults and college-aged students looking for a place to do work. Patrons can sit indoors at one of the many wood-grain tables or curl up by the fireplace in a luxurious, overstuffed armchair. There is also plenty of outdoor seating with covered tables for when the weather is nice.
Caffè Nero also features an espresso-heavy menu in pursuit of its mission to create traditional Italian cafés across the world, “places that would serve very high quality coffee and serve as neighborhood meeting spots,” according to the company’s website. In addition to traditional drinks, such as cappuccinos and cortados, Caffè Nero also serves smoothies, frappes, cider, hot chocolate, and a wide array of food options.
Caffè Nero’s all-day breakfast menu includes egg sandwiches, frittatas, parfaits, and baked goods that range from croissants and muffins to macarons and biscotti. Caffè Nero also serves a variety of sandwiches, soups, and salads for lunch and, to finish it all off, fresh-baked Italian desserts such as cannolis, tiramisu, and mascarpone cake.
The café also offers many dairy- and nut-free items as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions.
The coffee chain first came to Boston in 2014 and has since opened over 30 locations in the Boston area, including three in nearby Brookline.
The Newtonville location opened quietly on Aug. 24, with the company making only two short Facebook posts on Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 announcing that free coffee would be offered from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the shop’s opening day. The store-front is currently half-finished, so the opening of Caffè Nero could have easily been missed if you weren’t a local resident walking by each day.
The addition of Caffè Nero to the Newton coffee scene is sure to bring some competition to the other shops nearby, who are already facing the challenges of the pandemic. Twenty-three percent of restaurants in Massachusetts have not reopened since March 1, the president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association told The Boston Globe in September.
The café is located at 28 Austin St., Newton and is open Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Caffè Nero also offers free WiFi for those who want to visit in person, and is available on Doordash and Uber Eats for delivery.