Tableside with Daniel Noguera

From espresso on a Vespa to a café in OTR.
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Plenty of people dream of opening a coffee shop, but Daniel Noguera actually strapped an espresso machine to the back of a powder blue Vespa Ape (that’s ah-peh) to launch Urbana Café. Two years later, he opened his first brick and mortar location in OTR.

Wait, why did you put an espresso machine on a Vespa? When I was growing up in Venezuela, I remember seeing the Vespa Ape around and I hated them. Then I took a trip to Italy and kind of fell in love with them.

How’d you build it? One day I was riding the Vespa, and I met this guy, Nelson Thomas, at the gas station. I told him that I needed to put an espresso machine on this thing and I don’t know how. A few days later he showed up at my house.

What can it do? This is a full-functioning coffee house. We can do espressos, cappuccinos, cortados, cafe lattes, and a caffe shakerato, a cold-brew coffee that Italians drink when it’s hot outside.

So you specialize in Italian coffees? There’s an Italian community here. These Italian families come down, and all you hear in the shop is Italian. I very much enjoy that.

You do delicious pastries as well. We have a fantastic baker, Elizabeth Zylka. The idea was Italian pastries only but we found that we have to be flexible. We started doing “Pop Tarts” and every time we do them, we sell out.

Urbana Café, 1206 Broadway St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 813-3133, urbana-cafe.com

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