Twenty years ago, grabbing a coffee with friends wasn’t the casual hangout that it has become today. Then Caffe Aroma opened.
“When we opened our doors a regular customer used to say, ‘Before Caffe Aroma people in Buffalo thought a cappuccino was Al Pacino’s brother’,” owner Dave Cosentino said in an email interview.
Caffe Aroma helped revolutionize how Buffalonians think about coffee, and now they’re celebrating 20 years of business.
Thursday, Caffe Aroma kicks off the three-day event with Malik Von Saint spinning tunes at 8 p.m. and Dogfish Head Brewing featuring special pints of 90 Minute IPA on draft, perfect to “cheers” the longest running independent coffee shop in Buffalo.
Friday morning offers throwback guest baristas and “1995 pricing” on coffee and beer at 9 a.m. Cosentino said the visiting baristas, who range from five to 12 years as former employees, will remain a secret to customers.
“I’ve sort of been keeping it a surprise to our regulars, although some of them are good guessers,” Cosentino said.
Friday evening brings Happy Hour at 4 p.m. with Peroni Brewery and Italian cocktail specials. At 8 p.m., Buffalo-based band Aircraft takes the stage for an acoustic set led by frontman Justin John Smith, who has been working at Caffe Aroma since 2006.
More than anything, this weekend is to commemorate what Caffe Aroma has added to the community.
“Since opening, we’ve added beer and wine and then later liquor,” Cosentino said. “We helped bring Talking Leaves Books to the Elmwood Village. Mostly though, we have remained consistent to the wants and needs of our loyal customers without changing much.”
The main event of the celebration is a ribbon-cutting reenactment on Satuday 2:30 p.m. which features guests from the original ceremony. The Aroma Group also extended an invitation to Mayor Byron Brown.
Cosentino said he was “honored and privileged to be supported by the Elmwood Village and the City of Buffalo for 20 years and very thankful." In the future, "we plan to continue what we are doing and raise local business awareness in the Elmwood Village,” Cosentino said. “We plan to be around for 20 more years!”
-- Hannah Gordon