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Fenway resident opens coffee, crepe shop in Restaurant Row

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  November 15, 2012 02:47 PM

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(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for boston.com)

Betsy Hill, owner of Neighborhoods Coffee and Crepes, and manager Kristy Johnson pose behind of the bar of the new restaurant on Peterborough Street.

A new eatery is opening in the Fenway’s Restaurant Row and its owner, a neighborhood resident, hopes it will provide good coffee in an inviting space to her community.

“I love coffee and I watched these places go in and kept thinking ‘somebody should put a coffee place in, somebody should be a coffee place in',” Betsy Hill said last week, sitting in her then almost complete Neighborhoods Coffee & Crepes.

Then in August of last year Hill realized: “I could put a coffee place in,” and began drafting a business plan and securing a loan.

“It feels like a dream and I feel like I could wake up, so it doesn’t feel stressful because I’m not sure that I really it’s actually happening,” said Hill, a 31-year-old Montana native and Boston University graduate who has lived in the Fenway for 12 years.

The new restaurant, which Hill hopes to open Friday on Peterborough Street, will serve coffee, crepes, and baked goods.

“I think our atmosphere will be really warm and welcoming and hopefully people will want to come in not just for the coffee and crepes,” she said.

The cafe carries fair trade, local, and organic products including George Howell Coffee, Numi teas, milk and eggs from Massachusetts farm Thatcher Farm, and raw chocolate from Fearless Chocolate.

“That’s why we’re calling it Neighborhoods because there’s a host of communities that have worked really hard on each product in order to bring it all together here,” said Hill, who plans to hang photographs of the families who grow their coffee and the cows that produce their milk.

Hill, who studied international relations and English and has no business experience, said she made sure to team with the right people, including two full-time managers with business expertise and a passion for fair trade. A friend who runs Sabbe Interior Design helped her design the restaurant.

Already, friends and neighbors have popped into the cafe with paper still on its windows to ask when it will open.

“I know the neighborhood and I might not be comfortable with the business side of it, but the location will succeed. It’s the right location,” said Hill.

Hill, who has three children ages 2, 4, and 6, does not plan on spending 80 hours a week on site, but hopes to connect with costumers and make coffees when she can--something she grew to love while working part-time at a nearby Starbucks after college.

“I just never expected that that small job as a barista at Starbucks that I took part time while I looked for a ‘real job’ would lead me to this moment,” she said.
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Twitter: @YTFenway-Kenmore
E-mail: Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com

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