NEWTOWN — A desire to fulfill a lifelong dream and a passion for good coffee recently led a local couple to open Cafe Xpresso on South Main Street — a coffee shop with a twist.
When Bob Schlump sold his real estate business three years ago, and his wife Marie left her job as a corporate event planner, the couple decided to look for a new investment opportunity.
“It took us a while to decide what we wanted to do, but Bob always had a dream of operating his own food business,” Marie Schlump said. “He operated a food truck out of college for a while back when food trucks weren’t all the craze. But we also enjoy a good cup of coffee.”
When planning the cafe, Schlump said they searched far and wide to find the best supplies, including two Connecticut-based coffee roasters who roast their beans fresh each week. They also sourced their milk from a local dairy farmer and their bread from an artisan bakery in New York City.
While coffee is their passion, Schlump said they realized that to be successful they also needed to have some unique food offerings.
“It’s very expensive to operate your own business in Connecticut,” she said. “We realized that we wouldn’t make enough revenue off just the coffee sales to survive, so we decided to create a food menu, as well. But it was important to us that the food was as high quality as the coffee that we’re offering.”
The couple took classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., to learn more about the craft and decided to roast their own meats for the cafe.
“We searched and searched for a supplier but nobody had the kind of quality that we were looking for,” she said. “We probably have a much higher-tech kitchen than most coffee shops, but we wanted to offer the best possible product to our customers.”
The cafe opened in March and already regulars are coming in day after day for their coffee and other offerings.
“It‘s just a different kind of vibe than most coffee shops,“ said Erik Hanson, a local writer who likes to frequent coffee shops in the area. “It’s a great alternative to some of the chain coffee shops out there.”
Lori Brello, a Newtown resident who visited the cafe for the first time this week, said, “I think they’re going to give the Starbucks of the world a run for their money.“