Downtown coffee shop to re-open as Café Steam
The new owners of a downtown Rochester coffee shop are planning for a soft re-opening under a new name on Tuesday.
Press Coffee and Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway abruptly closed in late December when its then-owner, Chris Holloway, was arrested and charged with one count of felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Now, a group of local people have banded together to re-launch the popular downtown spot as Café Steam. The new owners include Hunter and Traci Downs; Dr. Nathan Staff and his wife, Kaya Garcia; and David Hewitt.
Hewitt is known for being involved with a variety of Rochester businesses, such as Mama Meg's homemade ice cream sandwiches and the nearby co-working site called The Cube. The Downses also own Area Ten Labs, a Rochester technology firm.
"It had become such a community meeting place. I've had so many business meetings there and have met so many friends there. Students go there to study, often in the evening," Hunter Downs said. "For us, this is about bringing that back to the community."
The former staff members of Press have been offered jobs at Steam, according to Downs. Some have accepted and will return.
"We still need more people," he said.
The new owners have been working feverishly in the past couple weeks to renovate the space and prepare a new approach. They said they hope to open the doors as Steam at 7 a.m. Tuesday, in time for the regular gathering of the BioAm biobusiness group. However, Downs cautions it's still a work in progress with many details still being finalized.
"This is more about evolution than a revolution, at this point," he said.
The new owners are putting out a call for local artists to help them with artwork for the coffee shop's walls.
Like Press, Steam will serve a full array of coffee and tea. Though the new owners eventually plan to expand the food menu.
"We're taking it in a little bit of a different direction with more food options and some ice cream," he said.
The coffee shop originally opened in 2013 , after Holloway raised the funds for it with a Kickstarter campaign. It's located in a 115-year-old brick building.