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Business, Food, News

Couple to serve up new cafe in downtown Lynn

From left, Elijah, Carlos, Maria and Ethaniel Almendarez stand behind the counter of the almost completed Lazy Llama Cafe. (Olivia Falcigno)

LYNN — Something’s brewing at the recently shuttered Brew on the Grid cafe at the Flatiron building downtown.

Carlos and Maria Almendarez plan to open the Lazy Llama Cafe next month in the 1,500-square-foot space on the first floor of the Vault, the 47-unit apartment building on Central Avenue.

Carlos Almendarez, 43, said he is undaunted by the fact that the previous coffee shop went out of business. 

“The reason the Brew was unsuccessful was because it lacked good management, it needed a family’s touch in its operation,” he said.  “It also didn’t serve Lynn’s Spanish community.”

The menu, while it will continue to offer cappuccinos, lattes, espresso drinks, bagels, muffins, croissants, scones, and salads, will also have something for Latino patrons, he said. 

There will be champurradas, the crisp, buttery cookies rolled in sesame seeds from Guatemala. For Colombian natives they will offer Pandebono, a gluten-free cheese bread, and Pan de queso a traditional Colombian bread or roll made with tapioca flour and grated cheese. For El Salvadorans there’s tres leche cake, a sponge cake soaked with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream, and quesadilla, a heated tortilla with melted cheese inside. For Mexicans there’s banana bread pudding. 

Still, Lazy Llama will face competition from the nearby Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. on Munroe Street, two Dunkin’ Donuts in the downtown, and a Starbucks on the Lynnway. 

The couple, who live in West Lynn, received their food permit from the city’s Inspectional Services Department last week. Almendarez said he negotiated a lease agreement for the space at $2,000 per month. 

They have offered former Grid staff their jobs back, including their 20-year-old son, Elijah.   

“They’re very good kids and we want to offer them the chance to come back,” he said. “We eventually expect to have 10 employees.” 

The shuttered Revolution Pie & Pint, a pizzeria, which closed next door in February is still looking for a tenant to fill its 3,000-square-foot space. 

The native New Yorker said he learned how to operate a small business from his parents who owned a New Jersey bagel shop.

“We’ve been in Lynn for six years,” he said. “We heard bad stories of what Lynn used to be, but today it has a great story of rising up and we want to be part of that dream.”

 

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