A building in downtown Latrobe where local residents once stopped to buy pastries is the town’s new spot for coffee, tea and sandwiches.
Rachelle’s 15650, a cafe operated by students from nearby Saint Vincent’s College, will open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the old Mailey Bakery, 335 Main Street.
“I think it’s pretty exciting,” said owner John Baran, a Latrobe native who worked for more than a year to restore and bring the ornate 19th-century building back to life.
Working with the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program, Baran connected with Saint Vincent and four students who, rather than just landing internships, formed the management team for the new restaurant.
The team includes juniors Emily Bosche from Harrisburg, Matthew Klasnic from Latrobe and Matthew Minkin from York, as well as senior Matthew Furer from Altoona. They are respectively managing director, operational director, frontline director and financial director.
“It’s a real pleasure to work with these young adults,” said Baran. “They are so brilliant and they brought so much energy to the table. They run the show.
The students trained as baristas and met vendors to stock the coffee.
“They run it like a small business,” Baran said. “I just check once a week.”
Baran nicknamed the cafe with a combination of his daughter’s name and Latrobe’s zip code. “It’s for luck,” he said.
As the students gain valuable experience running a small business, Baran expressed the hope “that they’ll lead it through to graduation and then pass it on to the next generation of students”.
Rachelle’s offers seating for restaurant patrons under a restored tin ceiling. It had a soft opening this week and will operate 8-5 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8-8 Thursdays, 9-3 Saturdays and 9-1 Sundays.
The cafe can be reached at 724-879-4844.