If you’re a cat purrson, we have good news.
Brittanie Sinisgalli and Mary Costello have a shared dream that’s coming to fruition. The duo is launching Espurresso Cat Cafe — Lawrence’s very first cat cafe. They’ve secured a location on the east side of the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street, and they expect to be open by April.
Both Sinisgalli and Costello have yearned to combine coffee and cats for some time. Partnering up was natural.
“It’s definitely something that both of us have dreamed about doing for several years,” Costello said. “Brittanie is kind of the coffee and bakery expert, and I will be the cat person.”
Costello has been bestowing the public with adorable kittens and cats for about a decade. A pet foster parent, Costello would raise pop-up playpens at local kickball games or unveil them at South Park during community events. In June 2020, she started the Mass Street Kitten Academy at Wild Man Vintage. The Kitten Academy was a window display featuring adoptable cats and kittens from the Lawrence Humane Society.
Espurresso will also partner with the Lawrence Humane Society, and people will have the opportunity to adopt a cat on the spot, or merely pet, cuddle or observe.
There will be two doors when you walk in. You can either shuffle into the coffee shop or the cat enclosure, which will be a totally enclosed space. You can choose to visit one or both spaces. When you’re in the coffee shop, you’ll be able to see the cats and kittens, but they’ll be pawing, playing and napping behind a wall of plexiglass.
The kittens will also be visible to passersby on Mass Street, which Costello hopes will result in more adoptions.
“You have people who know they want to adopt … We want to reach that demographic who may not necessarily be looking to adopt but they just happen to walk up and fall in love,” Costello said.
And don’t forget the coffee. For Sinisgalli’s part, she is culling the best coffees and teas to have on offer. With a barista background, Sinisgalli was co-owner of the coffee bar Perk ‘Em Up Coffee, which operated from 2016-2018 exclusively at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market.
Both Sinisgalli and Costello hope the coffee and food will be just as enticing as the cats.
“We want to be a spot where people who are visiting town might come because it’s really unique and different, but we also want to be a spot where people who just want to grab a delicious cup of coffee or quick bite can come and get that too,” Costello said. “A lot of cat cafes that we’ve been to in other cities — the coffee really felt like an afterthought and so we … wanted to have really great coffee and really cute adoptable cats and kittens.”
The shop will have coffee and espresso drinks, tea and baked goods like scones, and pastries, plus grab-and-go lunch items.
Costello and Sinisgalli envision a community gathering place centered around a good cause: Getting kittens and cats into furever homes.
“Our biggest priority is to get cats adopted and so having a unique space that is always evolving with new cute faces, along with consistent quality food and drink will hopefully keep people coming in and enjoying and adopting,” Sinisgalli said.
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Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.