Second week of the New Year and we’re posting for the second time: this really could be a good year!

I know, this isn’t really pushing the limits, but since there were about four months between my previous posts, I’m feeling kind of productive. Additionally, I know pictures are always nice, and I rarely think about it, but to entice you to break any new year resolutions about calories, check out the pastries we offer everyday from Enrico’s Biscotti and Colangelo’s Bakery. The photo doesn’t do justice, but it’s still a photo and a tease.

Coffeewise, we are still pumping out some of the best product in downtown. We still get our coffee from La Prima and feel we are doing their product right. I don’t want to take anything away from 21st Coffee & Tea (located in the Frick Building), cause I got nothing but repect for their expertise, but as another kiosk located in the heart of the business district, it’d sure be nice to see a few more regulars from outside our walls. Anyone reading this that knows about us, maybe make a new years resolution to bring along a friend to enjoy a really good cappuccino in a ceramic cup; sit and enjoy your drink rather than take it on the run. We still have one of the fastest , free wi-fi connections in downtown, so make it a productive break and stay a while.

One experiment we’ve started due to the cold is ordering-in: if you place a food order before 10:30, we’ll have pasta, soup, sandwiches or pizza waiting for you at the shop. Everyday we make a pick-up of fresh prepared food at Colangelo’s bakery. Your choices are a daily pasta special; pasta with tomato and basil; Nico, a penne pasta dish with spinach, pine nuts, roasted red pepper, garlic, and spices, either plain or with a choice of chicken or spicy sausage; a choice of wedding soup or pasta e fagioli; or order your own 10″ pizza. Stop by for more info or to pick up a menu. We’re always encouraging customers to visit Colangelo’s for a true taste of Italy, but our limited menu isn’t a bad option.


Happy New Year! A new beginning (of the decade…)

Well, been a bit negligent about posting, eh! It ain’t easy trying to run a business when you don’t know what you’re doing, but hey, it’s all about the product at Simpatico, and we continue with some of the best stuff downtown. Still don’t think there’s a better Americano in the entire Pittsburgh area, but it’s hard to gauge until someone decides to take on the responsibility of visiting any commendable espresso bar/shop and post the assessments. But we’re ready for the challenge.

While it’s been a struggle vanquishing our own assessment as one of downtown’s “best kept secrets,” after three and a half years at the same location, we’ve only gotten better. Still offering La Prima coffees and espresso, still have incredibly fast free wi-fi, and it can be a comfortable stop to sit and enjoy your coffee in a ceramic cup. And still offering pastries from Enrico Biscotti Company and Colangelo’s, possibly the finest bakeries in Pittsburgh, and sandwiches and salads from Colangelo’s.

So, if you haven’t visited us in the years we’ve been hidden in the lobby of the Regional Enterprise Tower, maybe this is the year to start. Wishing everyone the best in this New Year!

Big week, lot’s to do

We’re anticipating a busy week, albeit we’ve had to say goodbye to some loyal customers. Last week ReedSmith officially moved to their new location at 3 PNC Plaza, and our friends from the The August Wilson Center, after ten years planning and three years of construction, have moved from their cramped quarters in the Regional Enterprise Tower (our home) down the street. We’ve made lots of friends the past three years, and know we’ll see everyone on occasion (our coffee WILL draw them back), and while we’ll miss them we wish the best in their new homes.

This week kicks off the start of Netroots Nation 09, with the likes of Bill Clinton, Valerie Jarret (President Obama’s BFF), and Howard Dean visiting our fair city, along with approximately 2000 progressive bloggers. We’re happy to be participating with a booth at the event, where we’ll be raising for Building New Hope and Rachel Carson Homestead selling their coffees (two organizations we support and volunteer for), as well as hosting Sustainable Pittsburgh whom we’re working with concerning a “green initiative” for local coffee shops.

flyer1aAlso this week, the World Pinball Championships in Scott Township (by Carnegie). Seems that the Pittsburgh region has quietly become quite the pinball mecca, home to the Professional Amateur Pinball Association. While it’s o.k. to idolize professional athletes (ahem), it seems even more appropriate to be able to mingle with the best, let alone challenge them. Attending the event is free, but apparently for the sum of a $5 registration fee, you can compete. Less than the cost of a hot dog at one of the local professional sporting events. Take that Frank Coonelly!

So hopefully we’ll either see you at our shop, the convention center, or PAPA headquarters.

“one of these days…Pow! Right to the MOON!”

Props to the moon mission — Happy Anniversary; 40 years and we haven’t figured out how to exploit it yet. I well remember sitting in front of the (black and white) TV, amazed at the feat. How far we have come in so many ways, yet a few things have yet to be surpassed. However, 1969 was not a good year for espresso, except price. If you happened to find a coffee shop that served any espresso, it would be unrecognizable by our present standards. I did find a menu that says a lot:

Coffee: $.15
Espresso: $.25
Cappuccino: $.35

On current events, I have (inadvertently) delayed posting an upcoming conference in Pittsburgh that has me personally excited: Netroots Nation 2009, August 13-16. As a daily addict (and sometime poster), it is with pleasure that I personally welcome all attendees to Pittsburgh. For a little insight to the conference:

“Netroots Nation amplifies progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Through our annual convention and a series of regional salons held throughout the year, we strengthen our community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.”

Simpatico is hoping to meet and greet many of the folks visiting the city, and look forward to the invasion of progressive, political activists working to improve America.

Catching up

It’s been over a month since our last post, and an unfortunate reason as an excuse. On May 12, Simpatico’s very first and most reliable employee was severely injured while (of all things) walking the dog. Cappy Buchser (yes, her name is Cappy for all those customers that thought it was Kathy) was simply taking her daughter’s German Shepard for a walk when it bolted after a young man running down the street. Before she could brace herself, the dog yanked her off her feet into the road (Cappy, meet concrete), and she broke her hip and wrist. Five weeks later we still don’t have any idea when she might be returning to work. For all those wondering how she’s doing, she’s bored and frustrated but her spirits are high. And we all have nothing but the sincerest thanks for all the outpouring of thoughts and concern for her recovery. Not only our outstanding loyal customer base, but other visitors that never met Cappy raised over $1100 dollars to help her out through this ordeal. Cappy sent this message to be shared with you all:

“Thanks so much to all of you for your kind words and generosity. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such kind customers that are actually good friends. I am getting a little better each day, and hopefully soon I will be back to make coffee for each of you. Thank you again so very much.

Love, Cappy”

The outpouring of concern and support from our customers was phenomenal. As the owner of Simpatico I echo Cappy’s thoughts: Thank you all so very much! Recovering from the loss of Cappy’s much appreciated help has been tough, but it appears Monica and I are catching up, and there will be more frequent posts. Lots of activity in the coming months, so plenty of news to share.

What about May showers?

If April showers bring May flowers, what’s with this rainy Monday? Sure, we see an upswing in people wanting coffee, but I’d rather a bright, sunny day and smiling people. We’ll get through it, together.

My latest coffee news is information on the caffeine withdrawal headache. To justify everyone’s belief that yes, one does get headaches if you don’t get your coffee, a study was done that proves the effect is real. During the experiment, participants were given either caffeine or a placebo so the results could be tracked. What kind of a bad joke is a caffeine placebo, anyway? Personally, I don’t get headaches and can go days without my coffee, so I would not have been a good subject. But it was determined that, “stopping daily caffeine consumption produces changes in the cerebral blood flow and quantitative EEG that are likely related to the classic caffeine withdrawal symptoms of headache, drowsiness and decreased alertness.” Blah, blah, blah. I don’t think we need studies. People get headaches because they have as much a psychological as physiological withdrawal. As one cut to the chase shop has put it, Gimme Coffee! Nuf said.

What is the world’s most popular drug?

Since coffee is our business, today’s caffeine lesson is brought to you by LifeScript, “The #1 Website Dedicated to Women’s Health;”  9 Caffeine Myths Explained. And yes, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. I believe the key, as with anything, is not to abuse, and caffeine consumed within reason can actually be beneficial. We like to think our house blends really tastes good, so if it’s caffeine you want why not enjoy our cup of coffee — note the flavor and appreciate the difference between ours and just any coffee while getting your fix. Our house coffees (Mr. Smooth and InTheHouse), both featuring Sumatra (a medium to heavy body, a mild sharpness and a rich, smooth taste), are meant to satisfy those looking for a mellower coffee, but having a fairly bold taste. So, for that caffeine fix, one or two cups of our coffee not only satisfy, they’re good for you!

On another note: ahem, today’s date is significant to many so for anyone interested, your urban lesson for the day can be read here. Ours is not to place judgement but to inform.