Traditional European Café Coming to Downtown Birmingham

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Old World Europe is coming to las stradas (Italian for “the streets”) of downtown Birmingham when La Strada Dolci e Caffé, a European-style café, opens in June.

“The place is going to be very cozy and warm,” says Zharko Palushaj, café owner and general manager of Tre Monti, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Troy. “We’re going to have baristas in tuxedos, just like in Europe.”

Located at 243 E. Merrill St., just west of S. Old Woodward, the 3,000-square-feet space previously occupied by the designer clothing store Found Objects is undergoing a $300,000 renovation. Palushaj says the front of the café will be more like a bistro with marble tabletops and a white marble barista bar, while the back will have lower seating that will offer a quieter atmosphere. The café will have 50 seats inside, with outdoor seating for about 15.

La Strada Dolci e Caffé will offer gourmet coffee, including French press coffee and a special blend by Italy-based Caffé Vergnano, a first in Michigan. Breakfast items will include fresh-squeezed juice, English croissants and cornets, and different types of jellies and marmalades. Lunch and dinner options will include salads, specialty cheeses and salami, paninis, individual pizzas, along with house-made gelato and Italian-style desserts.

Palushaj says he’s working on acquiring a liquor license so the café can serve champagne and wine. A violinist or pianist may play during evening hours.

He says all items will be priced under $10, with coffee ranging from $4 to $5 and pizza from $7 to $9.

La Strada Dolci e Caffé will be open seven days a week and will have about a dozen employees. 

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