Local cafe gets its wheels rolling

Owners of the Mello Velo Bicycle Shop on Westcott Street expand their business to include a coffee shop.

Two extremely vertical staircases. Two smells. Bicycle tire rubber emanating from one. Coffee grounds wafting from the other.

Mello Velo has been known by students as "that bicycle shop on Westcott” since it opened in 2009. On the shop’s website, co-owners and newlyweds Steve Morris and Sara O’Mahoney state, “We simply wanted to create the best independent, locally owned, friendly bike shop around.”

Photo: Michele Maciejewski
Rebecca Chad, class of 2010, studying at Mello Velo Cafe.

Now, after a casual idea became serious, they are adding to that goal — they officially opened their cafe expansion on Monday, Sept. 29.

Even though the cafe is still under construction, it has not kept customers away. The furniture is eclectic with some tables and seating used by its location’s predecessor, 2nd Story Coffee Shop.

Mello Velo imports from Gimme Coffee in Ithaca, NY and gets its products from local sources. Vegetables come from Morris’s own backyard garden. He uses the coffee grounds and food that would normally be thrown out in the soil as compost.

There’s a calming, homey feeling to the shop’s set up. Small coffee mugs act as vases for colorful flowers while a variety of lamps sit on the higher-elevated tables along the walls. What appear to be pieces of thick tree trunks adorn the corners of the wooden countertops.

There are recycling and dirty dish bins beneath the station of milk, sugar, and other amenities. Alongside this station is a column with a variety of bicycle-related magazines and books, but the shop is not solely geared towards bike enthusiasts. The shop is well lit with free Wi-Fi service and a variety of music filling its air.

“We’re trying to make it a cool place to hang out, or do homework,” Morris said.

Jesse Daino, co-owner of nearby Recess Coffee House & Roastery, said there’s no animosity between the cafes, despite their close proximity.

"We're friends with them but it would've been nice if there was something new and different on Westcott than another coffee shop," Daino said. "But we wish them success. Competition is always good."

Morris isn’t too concerned with competition either.

“We’re just another option. The two cafes are doing things that are kind of different,” he said. “They’re good guys. We talked to them about it. I think in the long run it’ll be good for everyone.”

One attention-grabbing aspect of the shop is Musa. He’s the shop dog. If you’re lucky, he’ll be moseying around between the shop and cafe when you visit. His sweet demeanor, soft mass of fur and curiosity make him a pleasant addition to time spent in the cafe.

The cafe and bike shop have the same hours at the moment. Once renovations are complete, the cafe will have extended hours. Morris hopes to add an oven and a stove eventually so that they can offer breakfast in addition to the current selection of food and drinks. The idea of a small-scale sidewalk cafe area outside the street entrance is also in development.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.