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Coffee Talk With David Abes, Corso Coffee Regional Director of Operations

The coffeeshop draws inspiration from Italy.

Corso Coffee.
Corso Coffee.
Courtesy Liz Lapidus PR/Ben Rose Photography

New York-based Corso Coffee, which opened a Buckhead Atlanta outpost in December, is a jack of all trades, offering coffee and pastry in the morning, a selection of panini and salads throughout the day, and a complete bar menu at night. The front wall is all window, allowing customers an abundance of natural light and a view of Peachtree Street. The side wall is lined with plush leather booths, suitable for groups, while the front wall and bar are furnished with stools, better for solo or small group seating. The cafe is classy, and the Italian theme is echoed through every small detail. Customers have options as to how they want to enjoy Corso, whether it be a daily caffeine fix, a refuel for shopping, a meeting place, or a date spot. Here, David Abes, Corso's regional director of operations, shares details on the idea behind the concept.

What's the story behind Corso?

Corso started in the Paramount Hotel in New York. The name "Corso" actually comes from this thoroughfare in Rome, but what we really wanted was for it to feel like more of gathering spot. So, when we brought Corso to Atlanta it turned into more of a cafe style from a grab-and-go so that people would be able to enjoy it in more ways than one. As you can see here we've got the coffee, food, and bar component. So yeah, it's just one of those little cafes. We want people to feel like they're in Europe, in Italy, hanging out.

I love how much exposure this place gets from the location and then also being in such a walkable area. It's so easy for people to stop in here while their shopping ...

Exactly. Buy some Louis Vuittons and come here and get some coffee and prosecco.

... espresso to keep them going.

You got it. It makes them shop better.

How did you choose this location?

We scouted around throughout Atlanta, and we wanted to have [Corso and LDV Hospitality's forthcoming American Cut Steakhouse] together. We thought with the clientele that would be here and the demographics that this location would be a success. So that's how we chose it.

I'm kind of obsessed with the theme in here.

Yeah, so on that note, the whole restaurant was built in Italy. We broke it down and rebuilt it here. So what you can see here is all Italian leather, the lighting, the back bar. That espresso machine is actually Maserati — costs just about as much as one of their cars. There is no grunge factor here.

I'm impressed — great coffee and food.

Thanks. It all really comes down to the quality. That's what our company is all about. We bake everything fresh in the morning and all throughout the day. Right now you can smell the new croissants coming out of the oven. Same with the sandwiches. We'll put just one or two out. It's interesting because I've had people say, "It doesn't really smell like coffee in here," and they like that. You go to some places and it always smells of that burnt roast, but here you can smell the fresh pastries and all that coming right out of the oven.

David, what's your favorite thing about Corso?

I think the community. All day different people come in, so you have business people here early in the morning for their meetings, and then you have the people who really set up shop as if this is their office. We had a lady who had five of her meetings here. She was here for, like, four hours, and every 30 minutes it seemed like she had a new person come in. And then around two o'clock people need their caffeine, so we have a lot of traffic in here. It makes it interesting. It's not just a restaurant. You could pop in first thing in the morning for espresso, and then swing by in the afternoon for a snack or grab a drink here in the evening.

It seems a little small. Do you think space will be an issue, especially with people "setting up shop" here as you mentioned?

I think with the nice Atlanta weather when the patio opens up we will have a lot more space. And we're not opposed to people working here.

Eater Atlanta contributor Jaclyn Overall

Corso Coffee

, Atlanta, GA 30305