Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sambalatte: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Cathy Scott

There's a new place in town, where everybody knows your name. It's called Sambalatte.

Step inside this caffee lounge and espresso bar, and you’re welcomed by your first name. The baristas and owners know everyone, and the guests know just about everybody too. It reminds me of the popular TV show “Cheers” and the fictional neighborhood bar, where everybody knew your name. “Cheers” was a welcoming watering hole, a place for friendship and comaradarie. 

Now, Sambalatte is the new “Cheers” and the place to hang out in Vegas.

Since it opened last fall, it's been embraced by the community, and the media have discovered it as well, including The New York Post, the local NPR affiliate, Fox 5, and a Brazilian TV station. Haute Living ranked Sambalatte No. 1 in its Top 5 coffee shops in Las Vegas. Word is spreading all over Twitter and Facebook too. And Seven magazine wrote, because of the micro-roasted varieties, “this just might be the freshest, most distinctive cup of coffee you’ve ever had in Las Vegas.”

Owners Sheila and Luiz have taken the time to not only focus on the brews, but on customers too by offering quiet attention and friendly smiles, and creating a cheerful atmosphere for people to stop in for their morning organic java and French pastry or sit at a table and sip while reading the paper. They’ve created an upscale boutique coffee lounge with a welcoming atmosphere that’s tough to beat. There’s a European feel about the place, found mostly in coffeehouses in New York and San Francisco.

Located on the West Side, in Fashion Village Boca Park, Sambalatte is already filling a niche in the area. The owners have created an environment that welcomes students, entrepreneurs, business people, and friends for a place to meet up by offering comfortable couches, tables and wireless Internet. The mezzanine upstairs is a favorite for some visitors. It’s already being called the best place in town to spot celebrities. But that list also includes local lawyers, cops, journalists, and dancers and performers from the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

When the sun is out, people flock to the outdoor umbrella tables and bring their dogs with them (there's an outdoor doggie station too). The shelves are stocked with books, magazines, board and table games, the morning paper, as well as an alt-weekly newspaper, and children are welcome. By nightfall on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s a coffee lounge with live music.

Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, in his 1989 book The Great Good Place, called such spots “third places,” where they’re not work and they’re not home. Instead, they’re “the heart of a community’s social vitality, the grassroots of democracy,” he wrote. In his book, he examines gathering places and reminds us how important they still are.

Sambalatte is just that: a great gathering place, where guests feel connected. Located between the Cheesecake Factory and Kona Grill, some stop by for a short time. Others go in with their Kindles, Nooks, laptops, netbooks and iPads, to work while sipping a white mocha or a chai latte, or lunching on an Italian sandwich or Caprese on a bagette (my favorite), yogurt, or a fruit-and-cheese plate. Fresh-baked goods are made in-house daily, so there's a lot to choose from.

Opening Sambalatte was a good move, choosing a corner of Boca Park Fashion Village that has an almost-village feel to it, with a waterfall, a meandering walkway and greenery. The place caught on quickly.

Like “Cheers” and its characters, who regularly hung out for the camaraderie, Sambalatte has become the place to be, where everybody knows your name. You can smell the fresh-roasted aroma before you walk in, and, somehow, the world seems better for it.

Take a virtual tour, with this video, and see for yourself:

Sambalatte Torrefazione
750 South Rampart Blvd
Las Vegas, Nevada 89145

1 comment:

magic of making up said...

Wow nice.. I like the leaves coffee..