A sip of Rome

In the book, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary, Joseph Michelli outlines how the Howard Schultz built an empire around delivering an experience, not just coffee.

Along the way, many small mom & pop cafes were closed. By being remarkably unique, this is one cafe that never has to worry about the Big Green Coffee Monster.

Basilio Inside

Caffe Latte
When you walk into this small cafe in Dobbs Ferry, say hi to the owner, Basilio. He’s the handsome salt & pepper-haired Italian man who is always behind the counter. He has a knowing smile and a charm about him that makes you feel like you’ve known each other for years.

His small cafe seems fairly nondescript until you notice the small details. The American magazines and Italian newspapers scattered haphazardly at the counter by the front window. The ever-present table of Basilio’s Italian friends cramped at a table just out of the way. The small vase of fresh cut flowers at each of the five small tables (and two more outside when it’s warm enough). The simple vinaigrette on the simple caprese salad. The art, posters and Italian bricabrac that adorns the walls.

Most impressive? The ballet that Basilio dances as he effortlessly handles multiple orders to multiple customers.

And then it hits you. You’re not in Dobbs Ferry. You’re in Rome. Even if just for an hour.

Basilio is a consummate Italian. He’ll make you a damn fine cappuccino, but don’t hurry him. Sit. Relax. Read a magazine. Let Basilio’s calmness be contagious. Enjoy your coffee and the perfect little chunk of biscotti that Basilio puts on the saucer.

Enjoy Basilio’s Italy.


On this particular day, some of Basilio’s regulars brought in two bottles of wine from a recent trip to California. One for Basilio and one for them to share. Beautiful.

Stores up and down Cedar Street have come and gone but Basilio has been going steady for 15 years because he delivers an experience Starbucks never could; Italian vacations, one cup at a time.

4 thoughts on “A sip of Rome”

  1. Nice story about what a lot of people crave(I know I do). Something small, something personal, something unique. Basilio’s cafe use to be commonplace. Now we have to search for them high and low, like this place that a friend is always raving about, Dr Gonzo’s Uncommon Condiments http://www.drgonzos.com/. Great products, unique setting, different.

    Continued success on your adventures!

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