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Public Espresso opening restaurant in Hotel @ the Lafayette

Public Espresso is launching a new restaurant in the corner storefront of Hotel @ the Lafayette.

The space at 391 Washington St., formerly Woyshner's Flower Shop, will offer much more than coffee from Public Espresso's custom-roasted beans.

Cocktails and a food menu from a full-service kitchen are also part of a planned menu to debut in the fall, the company announced on its website.

Public Espresso has served coffee, pastries bagels and more from its lobby coffee lounge since 2015. "We're going to be doing light fare on weekdays, things people can grab, like bagels, egg sandwiches and avocado toast, and then more of a brunch menu for weekends," said Sam Scarcello, who owns the company with James Rayburg. "People will be able to pick something up, or hang out and enjoy the space."

The nights will have small food options at the bar – "You won’t be sitting down for a $40 steak," he said. The alcoholic drinks will include a tight cocktail program, a small wine list and tea and coffee inspired cocktails, he said. Asked if that would include a Long Island Ice Tea, he laughed. "No."

The company also plans to move its Grant Street coffee roaster to the hotel. "With the rate our roastery was growing and the capacity needed to house green coffee beans (they ship on pallets of 132 lb. bags) expanding rapidly, we were running out of space to fit a reasonably sized cafe and roastery."

On average, Scarcello said, the company roasts 200 to 300 pounds a week. With two more stores, including an upcoming Seneca Street site, that number could double, he said.

A new space on Grant Street will also hold an upcoming café, hopefully to open in 2018. "We've got a lease signed for that space, and we're waiting on bids from the contractors to make sure it's coming in on budget."

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