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A European-style cafe, bakery is on the menu for downtown Rochester

Rochester restaurateur Sammi Loo is working on creating a new European-style cafe and bakery called Mezza 9 in downtown Rochester at 20 Historic Third St. SW. That's the spot where Bar Buffalo served gin drinks and vegan food from 2018 until it closed in early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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The former Bar Buffalo on Historic Third Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in downtown Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
Joe Ahlquist

An empty space in Rochester will be transformed into a cozy spot for a sweet treat and a warm cup.

Rochester restaurateur Sammi Loo has a vision to add something new to the Med City mix - a cafe and bakery with a welcoming international vibe.

“We're going for a European feel with also a little bit of Asian influence,” said Loo, who also owns Ootori Sushi . “We plan to emphasize tea latte and also artisan coffee and Malaysian tea and coffee. We will sell excellent bread, chocolate cake, delicious carrot cake, tiramisu and other fancy, beautiful pastries and desserts.”

She has signed a lease to open Mezza 9 Cafe and Bakery at 20 Historic Third St. SW. Barb Phelps and Leigh Ann Peltoma of Titan360 Commercial Real Estate lined up the space for Loo. Bar Buffalo served gin drinks and vegan food in that spot from 2018 until it closed in early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Loo hopes to be ready to open Mezza 9 in February.

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In addition to desserts and teas, the cafe will also feature soups, salads and sandwiches on its menu for the downtown crowd looking for a relaxing place for a bite.

How did someone who is known for her sushi restaurants decide to open a European cafe?

“It's something that I have had in my mind for quite some time now,” said Loo. “I want to create something more relaxing… a little bit different. I just want it to be a beautiful, cozy spot to enjoy a coffee and a dessert."

She also hopes to open the Mezza 9 kitchen to local cooks who are looking for a place to try out a recipe or a menu as an experimental food pop-up spot.

“I'm trying to work out doing a pop-up kitchen, where a home baker could make something and use our space to promote their own food to show their talent,” said Loo.

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