When Cafe La Diva owners Lina Coyle and Diane Lang Rufo considered opening a cafe, they stumbled upon what they view as a great idea for a business model: Promote others’ businesses and let the customers come to you.
Open only two weeks in its 16 Albion Street location in Wakefield, Café La Diva already has regulars coming for some of the best treats available in Wakefield, and that’s no lie: The pair sells yummies culled from the crème de la crème of Boston’s best bakeries and specialty food stores.
The bagels are from Bagel World in Reading, the pizza from Leone’s in Somerville, and the calzones from J&M in Saugus. Or is cappuccino cake your thing? They've got it, and it’s from Modern Pastry in the North End. Even the “usual stuff,” like biscotti and turtles and pizzelles look just a little bit fatter than what you’re likely to find elsewhere.
“Those go really quickly,” says Coyle, pointing to the lone half moon that was left after the morning rush. That afternoon she’d order morefrom Lyndell’s in Somerville, only to watch them disappear before closing time.
Coyle and Rufo opened La Diva as a way to bring the food they loved as kids from the good-eats sections of Medford, Somerville, and the North End to Wakefield. In addition to some delightfully devilish fare, Cafe La Diva also has creations that are dairy-, wheat-, and gluten-free.
“We wanted to create a place where people can relax and slow down, to eat something that makes them happy, to leave with a hug or two.” In other words, they created a place they might like themselves, complete with high-definition TV and free WiFi.
Having chosen the types of food they liked, the owners chose a motif they liked: Old Hollywood Glamour. To create this style, they added comfy club chairs, a bar-like counter area, and two-seater tables adorned with sparkly votive candles. Cafe La Diva employee and Massachusetts Institute of Art graduate Nicole Fiore supplied the art—paintings of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn studded with Swarovski crystals. Floor tiles were painted a la the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“But, see? Instead of Hollywood Stars, we used our own names,” Coyle said. “There’s Diane, and Nicole and me.”
The divas also have a website, designed and launched by their graphic art guru Stephen Fiore, Nicole's Fiore's brother. He’s also behind other design elements as the boxes sporting the store's “sealed with a kiss” motto.
Cafe La Diva has plans to take their shop to the next level. Literally. The team of divas is arranging to host a local medium on Sundays, so people can commune with the spirits while drinking their cappuccinos.
So take the shop up on its inviting atmosphere and channel your inner diva by enjoying some fine treats not previously available in Wakefield.