Thursday, October 1, 2009

Augie’s Coffee House offers friendship to all

Augie’s Coffee House in Redlands, CA, offers friendship to all who walk through the door. Compared to the recent trend of the coffee conglomerate, Augie’s shines reflecting the unique neighborhood and families who are its regular customers.

“We came here and got a drink… and it was like walking into a different world… all these people know each other, the owner knows everybody that walks in here—by name. It just kind of blew me away…” new owner Andy Amento said of his first visit to the family-owned coffee shop. “We walked out after forty-five minutes and said ‘This is the kind of family business we want to own’ and it’s just grown from there…” he added. Andy and his wife, Linda, took over Augie’s in January 2009.

Linda Amento spoke warmly of the shop, “This is such a refreshing place for me to come; it’s hard for me to go home.”

The two want to keep the charm and tradition of Augie’s alive, but they would like to expand and improve the space itself. The entire upstairs section is currently inaccessible. Andy plans to engineer a stairway to replace the one that was taken out years ago. He also wants to construct a stage on the second level.

“We have a jazz band that plays here every Monday night… and on Wednesday we have an open mic night… and it’s wonderful… It provides a great outlet for all the local musicians. I have grown to love it and support it one hundred percent,” Andy said proudly. The musicians currently perform in the alley outside or the back room. Its brick walls house a variety of chairs and tables and a statue of an elderly waiter that looms over the guests. He is nicknamed Jitters and was originally in the bathroom until Andy realized how much he was scaring the guests.

All of the six baristas have what they refer to as a “snobbiness” towards coffee. “You learn the right way as far as proper water temperatures for extracting the right tastes… from the bean itself when you are pulling shots. As far as brewing coffee, there’s not one way to do it… there are so many different various ways that it pulls out so many different flavors from the bean… and all of them have a different taste… you learn to develop an appreciation,” Zack Pianko, an Augie’s barista, said. The coffee is always made correctly and the baristas would much rather start over than present a less than superior drink to a customer.

Along with the great coffee, and comfortable atmosphere, Augie’s offers friendship. Brian Lightfoot, another talented barista, said, “I think it’s a really open place. It’s a place that feels like a family to both the employees and the customers.”

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