Here’s some welcome news regarding the recently vacated Wellesley Hills railroad station building: The Swellesley Report has learned that European coffeehouse Caffe Nero will be opening there as soon as this spring and it plans to do so with respect for the historically significant building.
Wellesley residents expressed concern for what might become of the building when previous occupants A Z Fine Arts and Jaylin Cleaners cleared out late last year, and interest has been sparked again in recent days because of workers seen doing their thing inside the building.
With this in mind, the Wellesley Historical Commission last month reached out to the owner of the property to ensure there was awareness of the historic nature of the building and to offer any assistance in supporting 21st century use of it while retaining its historical character, said Commission Chair Tad Heuer. The owner was in fact aware and it appears the outside of the building will likely not be changed much by Caffe Nero, Heuer adds.
“This is one of those buildings that is architecturally unique not just for Wellesley but for the wider sense of that era and community,” Heuer says.
Indeed, the history of the building is not lost on Caffe Nero, according to Jay Gentile, USA director for the London-based company, which got its start in 1997. “We are thrilled and privileged to work in such a great building designed by H. H. Richardson and one that has been a part of Wellesley for so long. We will do our best to treat this building with the respect it deserves.”
Hundreds of Caffe Nero shops are located around the world, and the company started opening shops in Greater Boston in 2014. “Caffe Nero is a European Coffee House and Master Roaster that specializes in Italian inspired offerings,” Gentile says. “We are obsessive in the creation of excellent espresso. We roast all our coffee in our European Roastery where our Master Roaster personally tastes every batch we produce. We bake pastries, cookies and make fresh salads and sandwiches every morning in our kitchen. We also bring in quality baked goods every day from local artisan bakeries like Treats on Washington and fresh bread from Nashoba Brook Bakery. All of our dairy is locally sourced from High Lawn Dairy in Lee, Mass.”
Why add Wellesley to the list of Caffe Nero locations?
“Wellesley would be very typical of our suburban locations in Europe. We find that communities that are well traveled and well educated have an appreciation for a true European Coffee House experience,” Gentile says.
Caffe Nero is in the early stages of working with the town to get the business up and running, and the hope is that it could open this spring.