A new small business is serving socially distant coffee with a concept that was brewed up amidst the pandemic. Espresso Paloma (117 Meserole Ave.), opened in a tiny storefront just off of Manhattan Avenue on September 17th, serving its signature roasted coffee, as well as pastries, to-go, or to be enjoyed at one of two outdoor cafe tables.
“People have changed their habits, and I saw a pandemic opportunity,” says Paloma founder Reuben Villagomez. After 15 years in the coffee industry, working as a roaster and cafe consultant, Villagomez was eager to open his own retail space, but the time never felt right. Then last spring, in anticipation of the birth of their daughter (named Paloma, which means dove, in Spanish), he and his wife, Ke, moved to Greenpoint, which felt like the ideal spot for Villagomez’s first customer-facing shop.
Previously, Villagomez sold single origin and blended beans, sustainably sourced from South America and Africa to various coffeeshops where price was the ultimate priority. Now that he is in charge of his own menu, Villagomez can vend higher priced beans, and still make a profit. Specialty coffee beans which cost $9 per pound may be too expensive for some of his clients, but Paloma can “add value with [brewed] coffee” and sell a cup of pour over for $4.50, which is worthwhile to the business.
Villagomez hopes that customers will use his constantly rotating menu to taste new beans and then purchase the bags they like, something he’s seen happening already in the week his small cafe has been open.
All of Paloma’s coffee is roasted at Regalia, a communal coffee roaster used by many shops around New York. Villagomez is working on finding more neighborhood partners to provide food and other goods to vend at the small shop, starting with She Wolf bread, which will be used for toasts. Eventually, Villagomez would like to serve more Spanish food, as well as treats from other neighborhood retailers.
Paloma is also (almost) ready to expand, if all goes well; the address used to be home to a car dispatch business and has a prime Manhattan Avenue cornerside location, which makes it a great spot for a specialty cafe.
Espresso Paloma is open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.