Barre is on fire these days with edible entrepreneurship. So perhaps it's fitting that one of the newest arrivals is coming to the town's historic firehouse, which was recently remodeled.
The Firehouse Roasting Company and Café, owned by Heidi and Chris Townsend, is one of three places on Main Street to start serving quality coffee this year - Espresso Bueno and LACE are the others - but it's the first where staffers will roast beans on the premises. Chris has been experimenting with craft roasting at home and is in the process of building a commercial roaster for the biz.
Unlike the owners of Espresso Bueno, who steam things up with a high-end espresso maker, the Townsends plan to focus on straight pours of drip coffee and creative food. That's not to say they don't have specialty drinks: One of them is a Mexican mocha with "cinnamon, nutmeg and just a tad of red pepper," inspired by the owners' time out West. Want a kick without the caffeine? The "firehouse lemonade" combines habañero with fresh-squeezed citrus juice.
The Western influence is evident in the Townsends' edible options, too. For hungry drinkers with 10 minutes to spare, they pump out creatively-stuffed panini on bread from La Panciata. One recent California-style hit from the grill: goat cheese, cantaloupe, chicken medallions and arugula. Quicker fixes include the Santa Fe wrap with spicy turkey, pepper jack, roasted red pepper and avocado and a Mexican cabbage salad.