Li Yang and Anna Berube are the proud owners of Nest, the now-open café in downtown Orono. The business partners kicked off the grand opening with a friends and family celebration on Thursday night. They officially opened for normal business at 7 a.m. the following morning.
“It happened!” Yang said. Berube agreed, “it finally happened.”
“[It’s been a] crazy 48 hours,” Yang responded.
“Today we just kind of wanted like [sic] all of the people that like have been there for us and supported us and helped us out [to come] . . . [to] thank them and have free food and cappuccinos and espressos and everything,” Berube said.
Berube had been in the kitchen baking non-stop for a full two days before the friends and family celebration and had not been to the restaurant for more than a day before the party began.
The celebration included free champagne, baked goods and of course, coffee. A myriad of pastries — from raspberry-topped chocolate cake and chocolate peanut butter cup cupcakes to biscotti and scones, all made by Berube, who also owns Vanilla Avenue Bakery in Brewer — filled the display counter.
Berube is relieved that the project is finally completed and she is proud of the transformation that 24 Main St. has undergone since she and Yang purchased the vacant storefront.
“Oh my god, it makes me want to cry,” Berube said. “It’s so beautiful…it’s literally like my dream has come true, and it’s…all because of this dude.” Berube motioned to Yang.
“I bring ‘peeps’ together,” Yang said.
For fifth-year political science and women, gender and sexuality studies student Sam Werzanski, Nest is a project that’s been a long time coming.
“I wish it opened before I became a fifth year,” Werzanski said. “I work with Li [Yang] at Kobe, so I’ve known him for a couple years…Li was just super excited about it earlier this week about everyone coming and celebrating what they’re doing, and I know that Anna [Berube]’s super excited too…I was here earlier this week when they were setting everything up…it’s cool seeing everything come together.”
“I’m just starting to work here,” fifth-year new media student Lauren Kelly said. “I’ve been here a couple of days before it opened and he [Yang] has just been working his ass off and trying to put everything together and I think it turned out really awesome. It’s like a higher-class coffee place that like kids will just want to come to — it’s nice and cozy — and do their homework.”
Berube and Yang agree; they want University of Maine students to shape Nest into a café similar to Starbucks. They encourage students to come and do their homework with a cup of coffee.
“[Nest] is just another option [for students] besides the library,” Yang said.
“I hope it’s like the coolest spot,” Berube added. “I just want everyone to come and like enjoy this spot.”
When asked what advantages Nest could provide students besides a great new study spot, Berube had a quick and simple answer: “Lots of caffeine!”
“I think it’s a nice environment for kids to come and hang out,” Werzanski said. “You can come here and chill…there’s pillows everywhere…it’s really good coffee.”
“It’s like a chill place to come relax and have a cupcake if you’re feeling sad,” Kelly said.
Nest will also be selling bagels from Bagel Central, the popular downtown Bangor breakfast spot. For those who are lactose intolerant, but still want milk in their coffee, Nest will have almond, macadamia nut and soy milks for customers to enjoy.
For students looking to do their homework at Nest, you can enjoy the quality decor (including a wooden sign that reads: “Welcome to our NEST”), hop on their free WiFi and use any of the outlets around the café, which are aplenty.
If you’re an on-the-go sort of customer, Nest is selling reusable hot and cold tumblers and coffee cups with their three chicks logo. Customers with these cups will enjoy a $0.50 discount on any beverage.
Nest’s prices are also comparatively low; a 16 oz. cappuccino will run you four dollars and taxes are included in the listed price, another student-friendly feature.
Nest will be open during their regular business hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Yang is excited to meet all the new customers. He encourages students and community members alike to come in and introduce themselves.
“Let’s bring peeps together,” Yang said.
For more information about Nest, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @nestbpt. If you happen to be at Nest and want to snap a picture for your social media outlets, be sure to use the hashtag #Nestbpt.