With a snip of the ribbon, Cafe Valentino opens for business

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Valentino de Caliz and his sister Celina, who will serve as manager, open Cafe Valentino for business last night at The Hotel.
Valentino de Caliz and his sister Celina, who will serve as manager, open Cafe Valentino for business last night at The Hotel.

It is official: Last night Valentino de Caliz, with his sister Celina beside him, cut the red ribbon across the door and Cafe Valentino in The Hotel was open for business.

Celina will be managing the new cafe, the first coffeehouse north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge here in San Pedro, Belize. The tasty selection of breakfasts and lunches will be the responsibility of chef Celia. Valentino, himself a busy musician here on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, said he will maintain a steady presence at the cafe.

Inside Cafe Valentino.
Inside Cafe Valentino.

Last night, friends, neighbors, fellow musicians and future customers gathered to help kick off the cafe.

Cafe Valentino is the second venture to launch in the once dormant The Hotel, about a half mile north of the bridge. The Irish pub Molly Malone’s re-opened its doors a couple of months ago. The rest of the hotel, of course, still  awaits completion.

Team Valentino: Chef Celia, left, will will run the kitchen ad Celina will run the front of the house at Cafe Valentino.
Team Valentino: Chef Celia, left, will will run the kitchen ad Celina will run the front of the house at Cafe Valentino.

Rose and I stole away from the festivities to check out the rooftop of the three-story hotel, of which we’ve heard rave reviews. For an unused venue, it screams “Potential!” There is a long palapa-covered bar, rows of comfortable benches, day-use cabanas, an infinity pool and Jacuzzi … and a panoramic view of the island that is simply the best we’ve seen.

We’ve heard it often enough, sunsets atop The Hotel would be spectacular. So would sunrises but who watches the  sun rise with a drink in their hand? (Oh, never mind …)

Breakfast and lunch menu at Cafe Valentino.
Breakfast and lunch menu at Cafe Valentino.

But back to Cafe Valentino.

What coffee will be served at Cafe Valentino? The island’s own Caye Coffee Back Street dark roast.

Speaking of reviving dormant institutions, Caye Coffee owners  Paul DuVille and his wife, Marci Price,  were at the celebration last night. Caye Coffee was actually started in 2004 but had been shuttered nearly two years when Paul and Marci acquired the San Pablo-area roaster last November.

Since then they have focused on three roasts, their mild Front Street, medium roast Middle Street and the bold Back Street. Yes, those are the former (for many, still) names of San Pedro Town’s three main streets, now respectively named Barrier Reef Drive, Pescador Drive and Angel Coral Street.

Paul and Marci were also celebrating the fact that the newly opened Rum+Bean in Mahogany Bay Village is also using their coffee.

Besides excellent coffee, great food, occasional live music and a cool neighborhood vibe, Cafe Valentino has the perfect accouterments to a coffeehouse — books. Shelves and shelves of books.

And that’s how I see myself some morning very soon — seated at a cafe table, coffee cup to my right, pastry to my left and face burrowed deep into one of Cafe Valentino’s books on Belize, or a novel, or a biography, or ….

 

 

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4 thoughts on “With a snip of the ribbon, Cafe Valentino opens for business

    Marci Price said:
    June 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Good article Bob! I shared it to my Facebook as well to help spread the news for Valentino and his team. And thanks for the shout out re: Caye Coffee…it’s very much appreciated! It was nice chatting with you guys last night, hope you and Rose can make it to our shop one day when we’re roasting. We’ll send you a message the day before we plan to roast. Thanks again!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Marci — Great meeting you and Paul!
      Please do contact me. Would love to follow the roasting process and talk more with you guys about one of my favorite things — coffee!

      Like

    valentino de caliz said:
    June 27, 2014 at 1:03 am

    thanks Bob… I knew I had awesome people coming my way…I am bless to meet people like you and Rose…also Paul and his lovely wife Marci.. I am also looking forward to some other projects in the near future…i’ll will keep you all in touch…thanks again for showing me your support.. and accepting my invitation to my grand opening of café Valentino.. which was a night of great vibe.. but we’ll be OPEN to serve u guys one more time…!!! hope to see you all soon…thanks again…

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Great vibe indeed, Val! Congratulations on taking the leap. We are blessed to be a tiny part of it, your fan club!

      Like

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