Saturday, March 01, 2008

As one door closes, another one opens

Let’s Meet for Coffee, the little coffee shop on Highland Avenue, has closed its doors after almost two in the cup a joe and morning gossip business. The shop’s regulars (and decafs) will certainly miss owner Lachell Jeffries, whose personality is as sweet as her mocha lattes.

Even new customers were not new for long. Lachell treated everyone as if she had known them forever. Her life was an open book. And to make a long story short, in the end, Lachell had to put her family first and close the coffee shop.

From all of us downtown, we wish you the best, Lachell. Thank you for sharing your steaming espresso and warm spirit with us.

So it goes in a city in the midst of revitalization, as we good-bye to Let’s Meet for Coffee, we say hello to Villa Verone, opening the week of March 3.

Downtown Elgin now marks the third location for experienced restaurateur Pietro Verone, who has owned and operated Villa Verone restaurants in Geneva for 12 years and Sycamore for five years.

When Fred and Judy Steffen closed the door to Café Magdalena at 13 Douglas Avenue at the start of the year, Pietro saw an open door for expanding his Villa Verone empire. Though Café Magdalena regulars will recognize the painted blue sky ceiling and the checkerboard tile floor, they may be pleasantly surprised by some of the remodeling Pietro has done.

When I first met Pietro he was standing on the very top of a tall ladder in nice Italian shoes, dress pants, and a blazer putting a faux finish on the walls. He was instantly charming. He likes to joke. I’m sure you will love him.

From all of us downtown, “Buona Fortuna” on your opening, Pietro.