Caffe Roma closed its coffee roastery and cafe earlier this year after almost 30 years in business, leaving a hole in the heart of Columbus Avenue. Now, the building has been sold to another neighborhood business: the Italian Homemade Company.
Though rent hikes were originally reported as part of Caffe Roma’s closure, it was ultimately a personal choice for the family-owned business, which operates two other locations in SoMa and Millbrae. Then, it was almost saved in a deal with developers Jason and Sirin Talbot, who had planned to keep the cafe going; when that deal fell through and the final closure was announced, it felt like the soul of the neighborhood could be in peril, following the closure of nearby Italian staples Pantarei and Rose Pistola.
Ownership of the historic building cements the business’s presence in the neighborhood, making it immune to the aforementioned rent hikes that plague many small business owners in the city. The space is a whopping 5,181 square feet spanning two stories at 526 Columbus Avenue, with entrances onto Columbus and Stockton Street — though the final purchase price has not been disclosed, the building was listed at $3.35 million.
This will be the fifth location of the Italian Homemade Company, which specializes in handmade pastas, sauces, and flatbread sandwiches, joining locations in Cow Hollow, Berkeley, North beach, and a soon-to-open shop in the bottom of Hayes Valley’s One Franklin condos.
According to Cameron Baird of real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, CEO Mattia Cosmi and team are planning an upgrade of the elderly building — built in 1907 — with plans to open in spring 2019. And similar to the Union Street location, 526 Columbus Avenue will sell fresh pastas, sauces, and Italian pantry staples to go, as well.
Stay tuned for more information.