Espresso Neat, known for offering craft coffee in Darien, is joining with Experience Hospitality for an expansion into Westport.
The new location, called Neat, is set to open in August at 6 Wilton Road, and will introduce a new concept for food and drinks. The cafe will mix coffee the morning and afternoon with cocktails served until midnight, with a full meal menu to go alongside. Neat will occupy at 1,500-square-foot space that is part of the National Hall redevelopment in Westport.
Espresso Neat's owner, Rachel Haughey, is partnering with Bobby Werhane, founder of Experience Hospitality Group, a management and development company based in New York. Werhane became familiar with Espresso Neat upon recommendation from a friend. While frequenting the coffee shop, Werhane found that he and Haughey shared similar ideas about the industry and the Fairfield County marketplace, he said.
Haughey was already considering the expansion into Westport, a community she felt fit Neat well, and the two decided to collaborate.
"It's a logical way for Neat to extend into the evening," Haughey said. "There's a similarity of excellence and quality of ingredients in artisan coffee and craft cocktails. We're thrilled to be able to partner with someone who shares our ideals."
Haughey hopes to build a new client base and regular following in Westport, the way Espresso Neat has in Darien, she said, though she also expects crossover between the two cafes. This is the first full expansion for Espresso Neat, which opened in Darien in 2009.
In 2013, the coffee shop had established a temporary pop-up location inside an office building in Greenwich.
For Werhane, this is his first foray into the Fairfield County restaurant market, after opening a number of establishments in New York, including dell'anima and L'artusi in the West Village. A second restaurant, Vespa, owned by Experience Hospitality but not part of the collaboration with Haughey, is in the process of opening across the street from Neat in Westport.
"We're looking to draw clientele that expect an artisanal product that they are used to getting in urban cities," Werhane said of Neat. "Our idea is that, I want people to come into our cafe and say, `This reminds me of that great place I used to go in the West Village or the East Village."