Executive chef opens first downtown coffee shop in Norwich
NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — Matthew DuTrumble is a self-proclaimed perfectionist. The Norwich native, who has worked as an executive chef for about 20 years, said that’s why it’s taken nine months to open up his cozy coffee shop Craftsman Cliff Roasters in downtown.
He and his father stripped the ground floor space at 30-34 Broadway, and brought it back to life with hand-done woodwork and nautical finishing designed to heighten the building’s history as a sea captain’s home.
“We don’t do anything until it’s perfect,” he said, sitting next to a large roaster in the café located on Broadway, just a stone’s throw from City Hall and the Wauregan.
Craftsman Cliff Roasters serves up an assortment of coffees and teas — both hot and cold — craft sodas made in-house, lattes and espresso, as well as baked goods courtesy of Jean Stott, the former owner of Stott’s At Bat ice cream and sandwich shop in the Norwich Business Park. DuTrumble is already planning to expand the menu to include homemade cacao, and looking forward to taking advantage of the farmer’s market at Howard Brown Park for locally sourced veggies and fruits in the summer.
Although the business is only in a soft opening phase, DuTrumble said it’s been busy every day. So much so, that they’re thinking about expanding their weekday hours.
As the only coffee shop in downtown, it’s no surprise Craftsman Cliff Roasters is keeping busy. The former Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street closed down two years ago. Now downtown business owners and employees are flocking to the café for their caffeine fix, and DuTrumble already greets them like he’s known them for years.
“We’ve already got our regulars, and we’ve memorized their orders,” barista Trent Pink said. “We didn’t realize how many people or businesses are down here until we started talking to people.”
When Norwich resident Ceil Vadar visited the downtown locale for the third time on Friday, she met DuTrumble with a hug before placing her order.
“I’m a coffee snob,” she said, after ordering her dark roast. “When I find a good cup, I latch onto it.”
DuTrumble has his associate degree in culinary art and a bachelor’s degree in business from Johnson & Whales University, but remembers when he was helping out at the student-run restaurant the Brickview Inn and taking entrepreneurship courses at Norwich Free Academy — he is a member of the class of 1995.
“I really see this being a community place,” DuTrumble said. “Even this week alone, I’ve seen people meeting and mingling, and some people seeing people they haven’t seen in years.”
Information from: Norwich Bulletin, http://www.norwichbulletin.com