Their dough may rise slowly, but one new café is quickly spurring economic growth in New Haven’s Pitkin Plaza.
G Café, a restaurant specializing in high-quality artisanal breads, opened its second branch last Friday on Orange Street. Located near New Haven’s government offices, the building previously housed a café called Bru, but stood vacant for two years before G Café moved in. City officials and nearby business owners said the opening is positive for Pitkin Plaza’s development because it will increase both employment and foot-traffic in the area.
Matthew Feiner, who founded and owns The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop — which sits in the same plaza as G Café — said he has seen the plaza improve over the years and that the new business signals the ongoing improvement of Pitkin Plaza.
“[The opening is] nothing but a great thing,” he said. “They make a great product, a very sincere product.”
Feiner added that his own business, which he has run and owned for the past 13 years, will benefit from G Café because the two establishments will “cross pollinate” each other with customers.
G Café currently has one café in Branford, Conn. and a bakery on Hamilton Street in New Haven. The baked goods are the café’s selling point, G Café Manager Maria Corina said, adding that she hopes to cultivate the habit of bringing bread home after work, common in European and South American cultures.
The café’s bread is all natural and the coffee is made from beans from the Italian seller Esse and Willoughby’s Coffee and Tea. The recipes for the breads, written and compiled by the café company’s owner Andrea Corazzini, yield breads with a short shelf-life, Corina said.
Patrick Rosenbeck, an employee of G Café, said working for the café has been an interesting challenge because customers want to know the ingredients of each particular kind of bread, forcing him to memorize each recipe.
“I think people in this area really missed this place being anything at all,” Corina said.
She said she hopes to create a place where people are comfortable eating in rather than taking food back to their office. The construction of G Café required extensive interior renovation, Corina said. The entire counter, bar and seating area were not present in the previous café.
Because everything is made fresh and customers have to wait roughly fifteen minutes for their food to be prepared, Corina said G Café recommends people order their food in advance.
City Hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer said that Mayor Toni Harp welcomes new small businesses to the New Haven economy, as they are cumulatively the major employer for New Haven and the entire region. Because small businesses tend to hire local workers, Grotheer said, the opening of places like G Café is consistent with Harp’s vision of decreasing unemployment in the city.
Corina said she hopes G Café attracts local businesspeople, families in the area and Yale students. One customer who had come across G Café while visiting New Haven on business said he was relieved to discover that this area had a café.
While Corina said many families have visited the restaurant since it opened this weekend, none of the 20 Yale students interviewed said they had heard about the new café.
G Café donates all leftover bread to Crossroads, a local New Haven safe house for over a hundred women.