Enjoy A Cozy Cup At Caffé Fresco

By Aubry Bracco, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, January 12, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]

COZY CAFFÉ -- Al and Wendy Szymczycha provide customers with great coffee, gourmet foods, a relaxing atmosphere and entertainment at Caffé Fresco in Hampton. [Atlantic News Photo by Aubry Bracco]

HAMPTON -- You don't have to make the trek to Newburyport or Portsmouth for a cozy café atmosphere and the perfect cup of coffee. Just stop by Caffé Fresco, located at 442 Lafayette Rd.

Current owners Al and Wendy Szymczycha say they were thrilled when Caffé Fresco opened five years ago. The couple says they usually stopped in for a cup of Joe and a bit of relaxation four or five times each week.

When the business was put up for sale three years ago, the Szymczychas, who had always wanted to delve into the restaurant business, decided they couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy the café and took the plunge. "[We tried], and all the pieces fell into place," Al says.

On Oct. 31, 2003, Caffé Fresco, which offers sandwiches, gourmet foods, pasta, wines and gifts baskets in addition to coffee, opened with the Szymczychas at the helm.

Since then, Al and Wendy have been learning about the restaurant business. And though Al admits running the show at the café is hard work, he says his loyal customers are worth the effort.

"[They're] the best part of it," Wendy says.

The Szymczychas' focus on customer comfort and community atmosphere is apparent. Aside from a traditional seating area complete with table and chairs, a cozy area complete with leather couches and a television are the perfect place for customers to curl up with a cup of coffee on a cold day.

Certain veteran customers are in Caffé Fresco so often, "you'd think they had their names on the chairs," Wendy says. "It's a good social place for business and pleasure."

In addition offering food, drink and a comfortable ambiance, the Szymczychas are sure to keep their customers satisfied and entertained. Free WiFi is available for workaholics who need to stay connected and diners who simply wish to surf the Web.

Want to disconnect completely? You're in luck. The restaurant holds wine tastings and art gallery openings featuring the work of local artists on some Fridays and live music (usually jazz) has become a regular part of the Sunday experience at Caffé Fresco. Be sure to check out local artist Stan Polanski who will perform at the restaurant on Sunday, Jan. 14.

"[The wine, art and music] are a nice touch," Al says.

The Szymczychas are committed to providing Seacoast residents with a "nice touch" of café atmosphere, food and great coffee for a long time to come. "Let face it, we're far from corporate," Al says.

"[We're] like a little piece of Newburyport," Wendy adds.

In addition to the food and drink available in the store, the restaurant also offers catering for corporate meetings, bridal showers, baby showers and parties. Caffé Fresco can also accommodate large gift basket orders. The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information call (603) 926-0023.