Heard on the Street: Downtown Rochester to get more Steam-y this summer

March 26, 2018

Steam rises.

And so will Rochester’s popular Café Steam when it launches a second downtown location this summer.

The plan is for Café Steam to take over the skyway spot now occupied by a Starbuck’s Coffee shop in the DoubleTree Hotel at 150 S. Broadway. That’s next to the Blu H2O Salon.

Will Forsman, a co-owner of Café Steam, says they expect to start brewing in the skyway location in June.

Meanwhile, the crew at 315 S. Broadway will continue serve the crowds of downtown employees and students as they have since 2015.

The success of the original Café Steam is one reason for opening this second shop, according to Forsman. It can get pretty packed with customers as different times of the day and night.

“This will split the bandwidth a little bit,” he said.

This move is also in response to requests for Steam fans who work on the other side of Broadway or at least closer to the DoubleTree Hotel than 315 S. Broadway.

“People have been asking for another location for some time,” Forsman said.

While many details have yet to be worked out about the skyway café, the basic concept to replicate the service and quality that has made Café Steam popular as well as its laid-back atmosphere.

“People think of it as their home-away-from-home,” he said. “We’re going to try to re-create what we have here (at 315 S. Broadway) as close as possible.”

Of course, the new site attracts a much larger volume of customers, so the challenge will be to keep with demand and maintain the expected level of quality.

They are still calculating how many people will be needed to staff the skyway version of Steam. However, Forsman says they intend to reach out to the current employees of the Starbuck’s, if they are interested.

The expectation is that it will need a team similar in size to the 14 to 20 that staff the original Café Steam.

Its hours of operation are not finalized yet, though the plan is to be open longer than Starbuck’s now is.

This second location will bring Café Steam closer to the other downtown caffeine carriers, like Bravo Espresso, the Caribou Coffee in the subway and the other Starbuck’s in the Kahler Grand Hotel.

However, Forsman believes there is more than enough demand for coffee and tea downtown to keep everyone busy.

“We see it more as a coffee community. We think there is enough business that everybody can be successful,” he said.

Starbuck’s has been serving coffee in that spot since 2005, after the restaurant/bar McCormick’s closed its doors. The coffee shop moved into the former bar space.

The glitzy Metro Bar and Grill opened in the ex-McCormick’s restaurant spot. The Blu H2O Salon later moved in there, after Metro closed in 2009.