Home Coffee shop New Marco’s Cafe to open in downtown Newport

New Marco’s Cafe to open in downtown Newport

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NEWPORT – The future home of a new breakfast and sandwich shop in town is empty on Spring Street, though it’s set to open for the summer – as soon as the owner can find employees to work there.

“I think Newport needs a local sandwich shop,” said owner Marco Polselli. “I think I can do some good there by having a little cafe style place with breakfast and lunch options.”

The new restaurant, Marco’s Cafe, is the latest venture from Polselli, who also owns Marco’s Subs in Portsmouth and Pickles A Deli in Middletown.

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Plans for the new location began in October 2019, but the opening has been postponed due to the COVID pandemic. While waiting for a better time to open the new restaurant, Polselli said he made the decision to keep take-out coffee centered, like the Portsmouth sandwich shop inside the Patriot Petroleum gas station, especially after seen how the pandemic has affected restaurant-dining establishments.

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“It really wasn’t a good time to open a business, but we had a lot of time to think about it and figure it out,” Polselli said. “We knew this was the type of business that was going to be successful if businesses were going to be successful. It wasn’t going to be a sit-down restaurant.

Marco Polselli's plan to open a cafe in Newport has been in the works for years, although he has encountered problems with the COVID pandemic and now a recruitment shortage.

The Newport location at 382 Spring St. previously housed Rosemary and Thyme Cafe for nine years before closing in 2019, after which Polselli’s business took over the space. Polselli said he wanted to continue the tradition of this space as a cafe-style restaurant by adding breakfast items and coffee to the menu.

“It’s not just going to directly mirror Marco’s Subs, because we’re going to have coffee, breakfast options, bagel sandwiches,” Polselli said. “There won’t be a barista or an espresso or anything like that. I’m going to have Nitro on tap. I’ll have a nice hot coffee and a cold brew.

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The cafe will continue to feature Marco’s Subs sandwiches, as well as the famous bread from Polselli’s family business, Marzilli’s Bakery, in Fall River, Massachusetts. Additionally, Polselli hopes to sell bagels from Jamo’s Bagels in the new cafe, after receiving positive reviews from customers who purchased the bagels at Polselli’s Foodworks Family Restaurant in Portsmouth.

While the pandemic has left Polselli taking the time to remodel the interior and prepare it for opening day, Polselli’s last hurdle to opening has been finding enough staff to work in the store.

“There was no rush to open,” Polselli said. “Now I’m under fire for opening and I can’t, so it’s weird. But basically I don’t want to open and release a bad product just because I’m understaffed and overwhelmed.

Like many restaurateurs across the country, Polselli said the hiring process was slow as the pool of applicants is small and those who apply end up working elsewhere since the cafe has yet to open.

He hopes to be able to open the site after the July 4 bank holiday weekend, but due to the recruitment shortage, he cannot set a definitive opening date.

“Almost every day someone asks,” Polselli said. “Maybe several times a day at the sub-shop, they come in and ask, ‘When are you going to open in Newport? So I get a lot of it, but that’s how it is. It’s no secret that it’s hard to find employees right now. Everyone has the same problem.

Polselli said those interested in applying to work at Newport’s new cafe should contact him by email at [email protected]


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