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Java joy The Village Perk reopens its doors

Mary Ellen Root prepares an espresso at The Village Perk. Sarah Schmidt. (click for larger version)
July 22, 2009
MEREDITH — Coffee is brewing once again at The Village Perk on Main Street in Meredith, as two new owners aim to bring back the coffee shop and add on some new dimensions.

Steve Mattei and Paul Morey opened The Village Perk last week to smiles and expressions of gratitude as locals stopped in and saw that the store had reopened. Former owners Nicole and Tony Candage closed the shop early this year after a rough season convinced them to close for the winter, to prevent further losses.

"People that came in were very happy and excited that we were opening up again," Mattei said last Wednesday, the day after they opened.

Both Mattei and Morey are originally from Seattle, Morey having spent the last 30 years as a chef. After living in Meredith for three years, Mattei said he was disappointed to see The Village Perk close its doors, since it reminded him of the coffee shops in Seattle.

Mattei was also disappointed that Morey never got a chance to try the Village Perk's sandwiches and soups. He convinced Morey to come out to Meredith to consider going into business with him and reviving the coffee shop.

"I thought it was a good place to get a good coffee," Mattei said. "Paul decided to jump into it, and we're trying to keep as familiar a feel to the locals as possible."

Toward that end, the Perk's coolers were restocked with fresh strawberry salads, juice, milk, and its glass cases filled with large cinnamon rolls, bagels, and blueberry and bran muffins. With the help of a former employee of the Perk, Mary Ellen Root, they renewed the shop's tea and coffee selection.

That doesn't mean that there won't be a few changes in the works for the Perk, as Mattei and Morey work to expand on this model. In the afternoons, the coffee tables and sofas will be exchanged for dinner tables as the shop's evening focus turns to dinner, under the name Main Street Bistro.

"As we move into dinner, the store will change to the Main Street Bistro, with a flair towards healthier foods," said Mattei. "We've got organic beef, natural vegetables, and are trying to keep carbohydrates down. We'll have beer and wine, unique wines and local beers, and make it affordable good food."

The shop still has a WiFi Internet connection for those who bring in their laptops, and Mattei said that they are considering a television set, just for the morning hours, for people to catch up on the morning news.

Mattei said the shop is set to be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with emphasis on the deli/bistro in the afternoon. Morey and Mattei are also working to create a catering business from the shop, catering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, potentially utilizing the third floor of 41 Main Street.

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