Owner Cynthia Bertolone and employees at C’s prepare a guest’s coffee order. Photo by Kat Bell
The long-vacated niche of small-town coffee house present in the city of Montevallo since the departure of Eclipse Coffee & Books has now been filled with the opening of C’s Cakes & Coffee House on Main Street.
The C in its name, of course, stands for Cynthia Bertolone, the café’s owner. Partnered with her husband, Michael, the Bertolones already manage a Pelham business, Cake Art. However, the two opened the local coffee shop after receiving a nudge from Montevallo citizen, Dr. Bobby Shunnarah.
“He owns a lot of the businesses here and real-estate here that he’s renovated,” said Bertolone. “He knows my product. He knows that we are successful business owners. So, he asked us to come down and see if we wanted the opportunity to open up a coffee house.”
After that, the process of bringing the coffee house to life was a short one, taking approximately four to six months to complete, according to Bertolone.
“A lot of work still had to be done, just re-vamping the place to make it a nice homey environment,” she said. “It was a collaboration of everybody’s brainstorming, which is what makes it a great place for everyone to enjoy authentic coffee.”
Bertolone stated that she envisioned C’s as a place for the community to indulge in authentic coffee and quality sandwiches, soups and desserts. Its menu includes the standard coffee-shop finds like lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, muffins and cakes, as well as Italian staples like cannoli and biscotti.
“We enjoy doing what we do, and we wanted to give that to the community here in Montevallo, especially the specialty coffees that people are so missing after Eclipse closed,” said Bertolone.
Although the café has been opened for less than a week, UM students have already echoed Bertolone’s sentiment.
Meghan Hilley, a sophomore communication studies major, stated the new coffee spot would be good for Montevallo.
“I don’t think it’ll ever be the same as Eclipse, but I think it will capture people’s hearts in a different way,” said Hilley. “It’s got a sweet little hometown charm to it.”
Junior elementary education major, Lily Dickinson, agreed, saying she pictured the shop as a great new homework and hangout spot. “They have a lot of plugs, which is all I ask for,” said Dickinson, also throwing in an endorsement for the quality of the coffee.
“I’ve only become a ‘coffee person’ in the past three weeks, so I’m not an expert,” said Dickinson. “But as a newcomer, I thought the coffee was really good.
According to Bertolone, it’s her husband’s Italian heritage that influences their brewing and barista style, while she’s more knowledgeable about pastries and cakes.
However, the owner emphasized that food is not the only service C’s has to offer. The café boasts free wi-fi, as well as games guests can play and continuous music guests can listen to while enjoying their meals. The restaurant will also do catering and rent out its rooms for private parties.
“It’s just a great place for the community that’s been missing,” said Bertolone.
“Everyone is the ideal customer: young, old, student, non-student, professors, moms, dads, everybody. We have a lot to offer,” said Bertolone, who added that she hopes to attract customers from outside Montevallo as well, drawing in business from cities like Vestavia and Hoover.
“I want them to be jealous,” she said.
Although C’s Cakes & Coffee House is a burgeoning endeavor in its own right, Bertolone has already set her sights on another project within the town.
“We’re looking into the old Pizza Hut building and opening up an Italian restaurant named after my son, GianCarlo,” said Bertolone.
C’s Cakes & Coffee House is located at 1241 Valley Street.