| Danielle Eaton
SPRINGFIELD – Despite many businesses suffering hardships amidst the coronavirus pandemic, 28-year-old Christina Raschi’s dreams of opening a cafe in Springfield are coming to fruition.
Raschi, who was born and raised in Springfield, graduated from Longmeadow High School in 2010, took the culinary arts program in West Springfield through the Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative and graduated from Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield in 2012. Raschi said she grew up cooking. “I’m Italian, we grew up in the kitchen, baking,” she said.
After receiving the keys in November to the cafe space located at 1382 Main St. Rear, Raschi said she put in a lot of work to ensure the building was ready to open. “I built the space basically from scratch. There was no plumbing, no electric,” she explained.
Raschi said she’d hoped to open her doors on the anniversary of her grandmother’s passing, March 15. However, with rising concerns about the coronavirus pandemic Gov. Charlie Baker ordered the closure of non-essential businesses on March 24, halting the opening of the 413Cafe. While Raschi could have opened for takeout, she said she was “playing it safe.”
She explained, “Being a startup, I don’t have a following yet. I don’t want to risk anyone’s health.”
Raschi said she’s taking advantage of the extra time before opening to make sure everything is perfect and ready to go when Baker’s order is lifted.
“It’s sad, but maybe it’s a sign to really continue working on it and getting it fully ready,” she said. Raschi added she’s also been working on new recipes while unable to open the doors to her cafe.
When she’s able to open her doors, she said she plans to start with a small menu and eventually expand her offerings. “[It’s going to be] a small menu for starters, bagels and cream cheese. Maybe a couple months down the road, egg sandwiches,” she said. For drinks she plans to offer “hot and cold brew” eventually adding espresso drinks “later down the road.”
“I’m starting a small menu to do different things,” she said.
While Raschi is not making the bagels for her cafe, she is partnering with a Western Massachusetts business to stay local. She said she will be buying both bagels and cookies from The Tandem Bagel company, a coffee shop with locations in Hadley, Northampton and Easthampton.
Raschi also plans to offer homemade pastries. She explained that due to the location of the cafe she planned to offer “baked goods that are easy, on the go, to enjoy with one hand,” due to being located in the business district.
Raschi also plans to put her own twist on traditional pastries. “I’m doing cannolis with a twist, ‘coneollies,’ so instead of a standard cannoli shell, it’s an ice cream cone,” she explained.
She said she plans to source her coffee from a place that is special to her, where her mother is from, Cape Cod.
Raschi said she is planning a variety of events and promotions including offering classes and a coffee club. “I plan on doing different types of class, 413 Coffee Club, buy 10 coffees, get your eleventh free,” she said.
Overall, she said “it’s all exciting.” Raschi said she’s looking forward to opening her doors and welcoming the community into a place close to her heart. “There’s no place like home, that’s why I call it 413Cafe,” she said.