It's all in the details at Focaccia's Cafe & Catery located in the Split Rock Shopping Center at 702 Bridgeport Ave. in Shelton, directly across from the Hampton Inn.
Owners Michelangelo Guerrera of Seymour and Bledi "Ben" Mujollari, of Waterbury, have devoted the past few months to making sure every detail of their first business venture is just right, doing 80 percent of the renovations themselves.
The owners explained that the Café was conceived and designed 360 degrees from a customer’s point of view, aiming to deliver a unique Experience that appeals to all the senses. “We designed Focaccia’s Café to be a “modern-style, quick-service cafe that combines the best of quality food, quick & friendly service, and value,” said the duo.
Guerrera and Mujollari explained their philosophy for the business was simple: "Focus on the Customer." The message was taped on the paper covering the cafe windows as a guiding principle during the build-out and used for training the staff.
Also taped on the windows were the questions: “What does the customer see? What does the customer smell? What does the customer hear? What does the customer feel? What does the customer like?”
“We wanted to design an experience of sight, sound and smells, in addition to tastes," Guerrera said. Part of the design includes a coffee-steam shaped soffit on the ceiling, leading to the back of the café. The colors are varieties of coffee and latte hues.
“As a result, guests now have a new destination to enjoy uniquely flavored gourmet cafe dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or specialty coffee and desserts as part of an evening night cap,” the duo said.
In addition to a variety of salads and Soups, paninis and sandwiches are prepared on a selection of Focaccia-style bread varieties baked fresh on-site daily, including red pepper, herb, onion, Asiago cheese, mushroom. Focaccia’s also specializes in “French-Style whole-wheat savory crepes and sweet dessert crepes, which are prepared fresh to order.”
Focaccia’s is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, and offers fresh baked French croissants and select crepes for breakfast. The café also features a full coffee house menu with five drip-brewed coffee blends and a variety of espresso bar specialty drinks, from cappuccino, latte, Macchiato, iced coffee, smoothies and fresh brewed iced teas.
One of the main points of focus will be on speed. “Everyone understands that Time is Money," Guerrera said. “We feel that you should spend both the way you want.” The service system includes devices used to monitor the speed of service, and table tracking for identifying where patrons are seated within the store.
Orders are placed at the front counter, prepared quickly, and served directly to each guest’s table.
For the owners, opening a coffee shop and bakery is fulfilling a common dream that started on different paths. Mujollari is a trained chef and Guerrera was in public accounting and IT Auditing over the last 15 years.
Focaccia’s is now celebrating their Grand Opening, offering lunch and dinner specials as a participating restaurant of the Greater Valley Restaurant Week, Oct. 7-11.