There have been many shops in Phoebe Aceto
's life: there were the Gimme Coffee shops
(in Trumansburg and on Cayuga Street) where she worked for 5 years as a barista and a trainer. There's also the tattoo shop, Model Citizen
, where she can be found "bringing the pain" while apprenticing with owner, James Spiers. Then there's her mom's kitchen shop for her catering business, in downtown Trumansburg, where Phoebe grew up; there's also her dad's instrument shop. In any event, the question, "Where's Phoebe?" can often be answered in two simple words: "The Shop." Now open at 312 East Seneca Street, just up from the Commons, this new coffee shop venture certainly is aptly named.
The Shop is Ithaca's newest coffee shop, and it may very well be the only shop in Ithaca open until 11pm nightly. It's big, bright and spacious, with impressive handmade tables and counters (made by Pheobe's brother Teo). Don't forget to look up when you go - the tiles are hand stenciled gold paint, giving it the appearance of an old-style tin ceiling.
Phoebe Aceto and Jon Beans Proton are at the helm, and are dedicated to providing a comfortable, casual space for everyone in the Ithaca community, as well as serving as many locally produced goods as possible. They're brewing Piccolo Mondo
(beautiful chocolate and citrus, says Phoebe) on their antique Faema three-group machine (pictured above and below), and other Gimme offerings are brewed both pour-over style and French Press. They also have great tea from CognoscenTea and treats from Edgewood Bakery.
You may remember Jon Proton holding it down as a Gimme barista at the Ithaca Farmer's Market for the 2006 and 2007 seasons; he also worked at the Gimme cafe on State Street. While Phoebe's pretty much a townie, Jon moved to Ithaca from California in 1996 to attend Cornell. He studied Physics and Mechanical Engineering, and began working at the Astronomy department on what he describes as "spacecraft things" (the Mars Rover
Phoebe and Jon recognize that the younger crowd is in need of a good place to hang out that doesn't serve alcohol. They offer live music almost nightly, and all shows are all ages.
There's Phoebe in the photo above. Here you can see her other passion: tattoos, of course. Model Citizen
has been residing at 312 East Seneca for over a year, and Phoebe has been apprenticing to tattoo with owner James Spiers for the past three years. It's a long learning process: at first it was just drawing, studying, drawing and cleaning. It's only been in this past
year that Phoebe has been doing steady work and feeling really comfortable with
According to Phoebe, learning to tattoo is similar to learning the steps involved in making good espresso: it is
incredibly awkward for your hands to learn the motions at first, but then the muscle
memory finally kicks in and it becomes second nature. There is always more to
learn, which is incredibly satisfying. You also have to pay a lot of attention to
everything you are doing, and treat everyone with complete care. Sounds a lot like being a barista to me.
Phoebe gave Jon his first tattoo over a year and a half ago - it's a jellyfish, similar to the ones on some of the plant pots you'll see around the shop. My first tattoo from Phoebe was just two days ago. It's a page from a botany book: coffea arabica. Photo credit to the brilliant Kate Torrey. Thanks to Phoebe. Thanks to Jon. I'm proud of them both and am proud to call them friends. And a big thanks to Gimme, as I sign off my last blog post. I'll leave you with art that made Phoebe famous at the Cayuga Street Gimme! coffee, now being served up daily (and nightly!) at The Shop: