Updated: May 23
Pretty much daily, we have the pleasure of popping into our favorite neighborhood spot for coffee, espresso, and the like. Ascoli is just a short jaunt from our downtown office, but we assure you, it's worth a drive, if necessary. The curated blends here are smooth and savory, and the handmade pastries deliciously divine: this is a place to relish in each sip or bite. Moreover, it's as welcoming and friendly a space as we've encountered. Operated by owner Dobrin (a self-proclaimed "global citizen with a passion for coffee") and his lovely wife Chris, this is a shop where you're encouraged to come in, relax, and enjoy yourself.
On a recent visit, we gathered a few of our team members, and walked the quick block to grab some lattes and a few worthwhile carbs while we chatted with the lovely owner of Ascoli Espresso (located at 30 E Broadway, just next door to Junior's Tavern).
Hw: Tell us about the inspiration behind the name (and the accompanying mural).
Dobrin: Ascoli Piceno is a nice, quaint town not far from the Adriatic Sea. It's a place where the locals enjoy a balanced leisure/work life. When I went there, I was a young and energetic executive—I worked for BellSouth International (now AT&T) with its corporate structure, on time and results-oriented processes, and strict hierarchical reporting structure. It totally contrasted with the lives that the locals in Ascoli Piceno enjoyed. I never forgot my experience of living there, so it came naturally for me...when I approached my 50s, I decided to leave the corporate world and start my own coffee business. I love serving my customers with a smile and showing everyone respect, just like the people in Ascoli Piceno did for me.
Hw: Tell us what your pairing recommendations might look like for a pastry and cuppa on a crisp fall morning or afternoon pick-me-up...
MW: In the morning, I highly suggest a butter croissant with cappuccino...and simply dunk the crescent ends of the croissant into the cappuccino’s foam for best taste. As for the afternoon, I'd suggest café amaretto or affogato to cleanse the palate. I always say that everyone’s taste is different so just enjoy...don’t think too much.
Hw: Your flagship location is in Seattle, where most of your blends are offered. What made you decide to open a location in Salt Lake City? And tell us more about your blends...what makes your coffee so delectable?
Dobrin: As with every business, expansion is natural. In Jan 2020, I explored ID, WY and UT and was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant downtown SLC was. Even during some tough Covid times, I was amazed with how locals would walk into my shop and ask, “are we spending enough with you to keep you here? What else we can do to help your business?” That's an amazing feeling! As for the coffee, after living in Asia for so long, I discovered the fragrance and full-bodied feel of South Asian coffee, so I decided to share the experience with my clients. We have many different blends to suit the local coffee connoisseurs’ palates, as well as imported coffee machines from Milan, the combination of which makes for a wonderful experience. Also, I took an extensive professional barista training in Melbourne, Australia, a place renowned for great coffee. When all is combined with passion and perfection, the combination results in all-around good social experience in the form of coffee shop.