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Central Café Opens in Downtown St. Johnsbury

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Central Café in St. Johnsbury - COURTESY OF CENTRAL CAFÉ
  • Courtesy Of Central Café
  • Central Café in St. Johnsbury

There's a new place to grab a cup of coffee and hang out on St. Johnsbury's rapidly revitalizing Railroad Street.

Central Café, which held its grand opening on Wednesday, October 30, sits at 418 Railroad Street, just across the street from Kingdom Taproom and Table. The café's owners, Jerome Balmes and Robert Larabee, saw a need for a locally owned, affordable place for the community to gather, Balmes said.

"Everything starts in a coffee shop," he said. "It's where people meet up."

The spacious café features a variety of seating options, including what Balmes called "Asian-style booths" with floor seating and cozy cushions. Free Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets could draw in local students looking for a place to settle in and study. On Friday and Saturday nights, Central Café will host live music, featuring its very own baby grand piano.

"We're really focusing on the ambience, seating and aroma of the place," Balmes said. "It looks different from other places in the area, and we want to be really local-friendly. When you come in, you smell the good coffee, and you don't have to spend a lot of money."

Prices start at $2 for freshly brewed coffee. The menu also features espresso drinks, tea and blended Frappuccino-style drinks in various flavors.

The coffee comes from West Burke's Kingdom Coffee Roasters. One special roast, Central Blend, follows a recipe that Larabee was known for when he operated Vermont Kingdom Coffee Roaster with his late partner, Yves Morrissette. "It's Robert's famous blend," Balmes said.

The café currently serves pastries from Auntie Dee Dees Homemade Vt. Baked Goods and will add prepackaged salads and cold sandwiches to its offerings in the near future.

"We want to give St. Johnsbury a place to be proud of, and be a landmark in town," Balmes said.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Community Central"

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