At any given time, Mount Vernon’s Ristretto Coffee Lounge & Wine Bar is abuzz with activity. An entrepreneur works intently on her laptop, two students discuss a project, old friends catch up on the cafe’s plush leather couch. A patron spends a few minutes chatting with owner Jenny Daley before rushing out the door, steaming cup of coffee and fresh veggie wrap in hand.
Daley worked for two Washington coffee roasters and spent a couple of years in a wine shop before purchasing Ristretto Coffee Lounge & Wine Bar in December 2015. “When this place became available, I jumped on it,” Daley said. She bought the name and revamped the business a bit by switching to Seattle’s Victrola Coffee Roasters coffee and adding a few menu items. Daley also bought a new espresso machine from Synesso, a Seattle-based company, hung art from local artists on the walls, and made sure her door is open for free wine tastings during Mount Vernon’s monthly art walks.
Daley and her baristas crank out classic espresso drinks: Doppios, Cubanos (made with muscavado sugar and cinnamon), cappuccinos, and Americanos (Daley’s go-to drink). If you prefer a gussied-up drink try their Northwest Mocha, a latte made with raspberry sauce and white chocolate mocha or their house-made not-too-sweet chocolate mocha sauce for a creamy, lightly sweetened treat.
The cafe doesn’t have a kitchen, but the baristas know their way around a panini press. Ristretto’s filling, made-to-order Turkey Pesto Panini is served on focaccia bread. The warm turkey plays well with sweet slices of tomato and a creamy pesto mayo. You can also order breakfast all day, fresh salad, hearty bagels, or one of the baked goods brought in three times a week from Skagit River Bakery.
But great food and drink isn’t what keeps Ristretto’s buzzing. It’s the people. The welcoming space has been the backdrop to countless business meetings, casual coffees, and first dates. Daley recounted a story of one couple who met at the cafe on their first date, then got married, returned for their first anniversary, and recently returned with a baby in tow. “That’s the coolest thing about owning the shop, getting to know the customers,” Daley said as she smiled towards another customer walking through the door.