There's a particular aura to the right coffee shop.
It feels "lived in," like a favorite room in an old house, and
has comfy chairs. Some homemade sweets, a shelf full of old books
and a board game or two for a lazy afternoon add to the appeal. Of
course, the coffee is good, too.
The Café Terra at 67 Center Street in Rutland used to fit this
bill well. When it closed back in April, many a coffee connoisseurs
and early morning newspaper readers were disappointed.
Thankfully, Bridget Scott caught the coffee bug a few years ago.
Now the spot with the creaky, wooden floors, Trivial Pursuit cards,
dog-eared paperbacks and great java has new life as the Speakeasy
Scott understands the particular aura of the coffee shop. After
receiving an English literature degree from Clemson University in
South Carolina, she went on to teach English in Prague, Czech
"I was trying to find myself and I wrote a terrible novel
there," she says with a grin. Scott then moved to Vermont, where
she worked at the Spring Lake Ranch for over eight years, first as
a residential advisor and, eventually, as human resource director.
Needing a change, she then got a job as a barista at Clem's (now
the Coffee Exchange) on the corner of Center Street and Merchants
It was there that coffee got a hold of her.
"A lot of people don't think much about lattes when they order
them," says Scott. "But when you're making a latte, it's an art
Scott's literature background is apparent when she says, "There
are a lot of adjectives to place on a latte!" Maybe only
While working at Clem's, Scott started having visions of opening
her own place. She found that she loved working behind the counter
and seeing many of the same people every day. This desire grew
after Clem's closed and Scott found herself working for a year at
Scott says that the Speakeasy Café, which had its grand opening
on August 28, retains much of the formula that worked with its
predecessor, but with some changes reflecting her own vision.
"The Café Terra did a lot of things well and was always a
friendly place," she notes. "That means a lot to me and I want this
to be a place where people feel they can sit for as long as they
want to-to read, do work, and to feel at home."
The Speakeasy Café has kept the same coffee brand and bagels
that were served by Café Terra. It will also offer soups, cookies,
muffins and scones, as well as the breakfast sandwiches (served all
day) - items that were popular previously. Scott notes that she
will now be doing some of her own baking and her biscuit specialty
will be included with the two soups of the day that the café will
Scott painted the café interior and added counter space towards
the back, but retained most of the cabinets, refrigerator, latte
machine, furniture and other items from Café Terra. She also bought
an iPad point of sale for a cash register.
"At one point after they had closed, absolutely everything had
been taken out of here," she says. "I brought all of it back and
rearranged a little."
Scott notes that the business's physical space offers much of
the character that defines a coffee shop. "There are fun little
details in the room, including the cabinets and the uneven, wooden
floor," she points out. "It makes for a welcoming space."
The Speakeasy Café's is open Monday through Saturday, from 7
a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Scott hopes,
eventually, to extend the Sunday hours and stay open later on
Thursdays for special events.
"I'm always looking for a place, myself, to spend on a Sunday
where I can just hang out and do a crossword puzzle," she
Thursdays will include rotating events: music, a movie night and a
games night. Scott also hopes to, gradually, acquire appropriate
art work for the café walls and is open to rotating art
As for the business's name and logo, Scott notes that her
original name had been "Velocipedes." (A velocipede is any
human-powered vehicle with one or more wheels, hence, the picture
of the old-fashioned bicycle now on the Speakeasy Café's
"I didn't think that anyone would know what that meant," she said
of the rejected name.
"I think there's a niche for a place like this in this area,"
she says in summary. "The Rutland area has grown on me since I
moved here. It is a community on the rise and I want to be a part