When Melville Petrosky first walked into the cafe in the old Collections by Marty building in Scottdale a few years ago to see a friend’s works on display, he had to leave.
Not because he didn’t like the space, but because he liked it.
“I’ve always wanted a coffee,” Petrosky said. “There were so many things I wanted to do there, that I had to go.”
Even the line from one of his favorite poems was written in Sharpie on the wall, said Petrosky, 50, of Belle Vernon, pointing to a line from TS Eliot’s poem, “J. Alfred Prufrock”.
“I measured my life with teaspoons,” the poem reads, and it suits Petrosky, who worked six years at a Starbucks in Boston before moving to Seattle, a city synonymous with coffee. He worked at one of the conglomerate’s competitors there before returning to western Pennsylvania in 2020 to help care for sick family members.
“This quote applies to me with my cumulative coffee experience,” Petrosky said.
When he learned the cafe was for sale last August, he contacted his brother and sister-in-law, Jeff and Liz Adams, both 35, of Belle Vernon, and the trio jumped on the opportunity.
The sale went quickly within weeks, and Bad Rabbit Café & Roastery opened at 143 Pittsburgh St. across from the Scottdale Gazebo in time for the city’s fall festival last September.
The store will celebrate its first anniversary this weekend during the 2022 festival, which will take place from September 16 to 18. The annual event includes a parade, car show, monster trucks, sidewalk chalk and cornhole contests.
Thomas Szczygiel, chairman of the fall festival, said this year’s event will have more vendors than ever before.
Bad Rabbit rushed to open in time for last year’s event. Liz Adams signed the papers one morning and had a paintbrush in her hand that evening.
“Every day, at least 10 to 15 people stopped by to see if we needed help or to welcome us to the neighborhood. The whole community made us feel so welcome right from the start,” said Jeff Adams.
While Petrosky is familiar with coffee, his older brother Jeff spent six years as a regional retail manager and oversaw a kitchen at a Ruby Tuesday franchise.
Jeff Adams can still recite the recipe and preparation method of one of the chain’s trademarks by heart, so it was only natural that he returned to the restaurant business.
This experience has come in handy at the store, where meats are sliced on site and baked goods are made on site.
Bad Rabbit sold 236 bacon, ham and sausage rolls in August, making the breakfast sandwich the most popular menu item with the iced latte not far behind, Jeff Adams said.
They also roast their own coffee, which they also sell online and have shipped to all parts of the country.
Liz Adams has left her position as retail manager and now devotes her full time to working in the store and making all the baked goods.
All three are quick to point out that they couldn’t be so successful without the help of the three full-time employees who round out the staff.
One such employee said that she came over for coffee one day and fell in love.
“I actually drive 25 miles from Uniontown to work here,” Lauren Sequete said. “There is no such thing.”
Another employee, Emily Taxacher of Bullskin, said she enjoyed the creative freedom to make and name seasonal drinks.
Vampire Blood – a nitro cold brew of red velvet and white chocolate with cold red velvet foam – is the most popular right now. Spooky Ghost is her favorite because of how the Sweet Ginger Cold Foam makes little “ghosts” when added to Lemon Ginger Iced Tea.
The shop, which has air hockey and a pool table, also hosts craft events or card games on select nights, as well as live music.
“There’s something for everyone. So even if you don’t drink coffee, maybe you read books or you like music or you play games or you just like visiting places. friends,” Jeff Adams said.
Their success is evident as their customer base grows.
“A guy came in with a backhoe that he parked on the street as he was coming home for his coffee. And the garbage trucks are idling in the morning when the garbage collectors come in. We get pretty much everyone,” Sequete said from behind the counter.
Dan Sleva is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Dan at [email protected].