Caffe Roma, a family-owned business known for its quality Italian coffee, closed down its Millbrae location that was open for 13 years because the owners couldn’t come to terms with the property owner on their lease.

“We just couldn’t come to terms. And unfortunately, the pandemic ruined our business and so we can't afford to be here anymore,” said Irene Azzollini, one of the owners of the location at 143 S. El Camino Real. “It was very difficult. We’re a very community-based cafe where friends and family come here. We help the schools. A lot of people are very saddened by this. And it was a very hard decision for all of us.”

Before the pandemic, Caffe Roma had about 15 employees and after that, it was about half the staff, she said.

During its last day June 30, many community members came to enjoy the business’ presence one last time. There were kids crying who had been coming there since they were very little, Azzollini said. “I had a little boy the other day say,’ no, you guys can't leave. I've been coming here since I was a baby,’” she said.

Another customer who was also crying told Azzollini, “There's nothing around here that's family-oriented that feels like Italy.”

There’s a lot of customers wanting Caffe Roma to open around the area at a different location so the owners are thinking about that, she said.

“We have done a lot for the community and everything. And it's just very sad that, you know, that this has gone the way it has.”

Its other location at 885 Bryant St. in San Francisco is currently closed and only open for appointment. It is still roasting their own coffee and orders can be made online. The owners hope to open it in September.

(650) 344-5200, ext. 105

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(1) comment


This is heartbreaking. One of our favorite family-owned restaurants here in San Mateo had to close after many years in business because their landlord raised their rent over 40% at the height of the pandemic.

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