The Future Of Rome’s Downtown Lies In… A Coffee Shop?

Rome, Central New York’s sprawling mini-city, features a lovely, quaint and inviting downtown. But in a city that lacks density, encouraging residents to support a strong central core is often a difficult task.

That may be starting to change with a focus on revitalizing the West Dominick Street neighborhood. With the Capitol Arts Complex as its anchor, and a walkable stretch of inviting character, the vision is to create an “Arts and Culture” district that will be an epicenter of growth and local flavor.

Now this area features one of the simplest and most effective micro-activators… the coffee house.

Cooperccino’s, a ten second walk from The Capitol Arts Complex, is Rome’s newest and hottest spot for great coffee drinks, breakfast and light fare. But it’s the decisively modern interior, featuring a comfortable feel with a hint of industrial accent, that raises the eyebrows of guests who enter for the first time. I wasn’t there for 5 minutes before a guest entered and happily gasped “I can’t believe this is Rome!”

I had a cup of hot coffee, a rosemary and sea salt bagel with cream cheese and the quiche… oh the quiche. So good. Everything tasted tremendously fresh and delicious.

So often, coffee houses like this are statements of validity and viability in emerging neighborhoods. They have the power to be small-scale activators that can generate foot traffic and interest without a tremendous initial investment.

And Copperccio’s is just the beginning… a small market, a brew pub and other amenities are in the works for the spaces adjacent to the the coffee shop. The small scale local development will likely continue to fuel interest and development in a downtown that has struggled for decades.

The story of a small city that has lacked an exciting, human-friendly center for a very long time is slowly changing, and as is often the case, this change starts with the beautiful, incremental and familiar first step, the coffee house.