Bell Caffé – That’s Italian for beautiful coffee!
And much more… espresso, lattes, Chai tea, mochas, cold drinks, panini (grilled) sandwiches, antipasti (Italian for hors d’oeuvres), cheese and dipping oils, crostini, salads, wine and beer from many different countries, undeniable deserts! Visitors will find high-speed wireless Internet, unique styles and architecture, a solarium and, best of all, great people who are committed to making your visit more than you expected.
It all started with Helen Peterson opening 3rd Street Market (next door) and the coffee shop between the “Market” and Beagle Books became available to purchase. Thom and Cathy and their daughters, Sara and Katie, had all been to Italy at various times with and without each other’s company and had fallen in love with the country and all that it offers. They felt the space gave them an opportunity to duplicate an Italian coffee house right in the middle of Park Rapids!
They purchased Emily’s Harvest November 17, 2003, started remodeling in 2005, added the solarium in 2006, and have been very pleased with the wonderful response from local people and from visitors.
We hope you will try us and give us the opportunity to serve you!
Italian traditions revisited at Bella Caffé
By Jean Ruzicka – The Enterprise – November 2003
Bella Caffé, opening at 116 3rd St. West this summer, takes clientele to another continent, to the grand peninsula extending into the Mediterranean. Area residents have discovered the destination as a place to begin the day, sipping espresso and gourmet teas while digesting the morning newspaper – or a freshly baked pastry.
“Business is brisk,” said Cathy Peterson of the morning arrivals.
“We are revisiting dreams of the past,” said proprietario Thom Peterson. “We’re capturing a memory.”
Stationed in Pisa, Italy while in the service in the early ’70s, Thom felt an affinity for the country renowned for its repast.
“I fell in love,” he said. Peterson took a European discharge “to try to figure out how to live there.” A career eluded him and he headed home.
Unbeknownst to Thom and Cathy they were exploring the “big boot” at the same time, Cathy arriving for a summer excursion with friends during college.
The idea for Bella Caffé had gelled during a bike ride last September after a conversation with Sandy Perez, Copperwood Interiors designer.
Perez created a design concept for the enterprise – “a manifestation of our passion for Italian espresso and wine.”
Patricia Crabb and Lynda Sullivan of Art-Faux design added their expertise to create the abidance. Jerry Eischens produced the cabinetry and counter tops. A recreation of an old Italian farmhouse, replete with bricks, stonework and faux paintings, now greets customers seven days a week.
Bella Caffé tempts palates with flavored espresso and gourmet, organic and spiced – “chai” – teas. (A tea-tasting seminar is on the agenda.) Hot chocolate warms the taste buds. Or a Brain Freeze, Zero Below or an Italian soda refreshes on a warm summer day.
A variety of baked goods awaits sampling – English muffins, fresh bagels, date-filled and “monster” cookies, biscotti and banana bread and muffins. Plans call for expanding the menu in the future.
Area musicians, entertaining by invitation, will enhance the experience with jazz and classical pieces on the piano. A variety of vinos are available. Solarium seating sends customers outside to share conversation and cappuccino.
The traditional Italatian espresso and wine bar is a place where people gather to share information, said Thom Peterson, who grew up in the restaurant industry. “A social hub.”
“It’s a treat to see families lingering, reading, sharing,” Cathy Peterson said. “People feel comfortable here.”
Bella Caffé is open from 7 a.m. To 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.