The new owners following the True Brew Barista era have a tough act to follow

  • Chuck Nemiccolo makes a coffee at the Brothers’™ Cortado coffee house in Bicentennial Square in downtown Concord on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Ian Nemiccolo, left, and Chuck Nemiccolo work the counter of their new Brothers’€™ Cortado coffee house at Bicentennial Square in downtown Concord on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • The Brothers’™ Cortado is now welcoming coffee lovers to their newly opened shop. Unlike True Brew, there will be no live music or alcohol.

Monitor staff
Published: 12/5/2021 8:00:42 PM

It’s hard following a legend.

Quarterback Mac Jones has played well this season, helping the Patriots and their fans forget about Tom Brady. Or at least Jones is creating optimism, enough to dull the pain of losing the player who guided the franchise to six Super Bowl titles.

In Concord, in the heart of Bicentennial Square’s brick motif, brothers Chuck and Ian Nemiccolo of Loudon are in a similar spot, working to build and maintain a community tradition downtown. The one established by True Brew Barista 12 years ago, when owners Rob and Stephanie Zinser expanded and brought their coffee delivery service into the building.

The Nemiccolo boys have renamed their place to Brothers’ Cortado. They’re banking on the cortado — a combo of espresso and milk — and its offshoot lattes, plus the support of a true blue family.

Gary, the boys’ father, was at the coffee bar this week, bearded and excited like his sons, downplaying his role, calling himself a ‘gofer.’ Sources say he had a lot to do with building the place.

They’ve hired a cousin to be their accountant, an uncle who works for a signage company to assist with advertising and decorating, their mother’s friend to handle the interior design, and family friends to work the coffee bar. Ian and Chuck’s mother, Lynn, owns half the business, a friend created the shop’s logo and Ian’s wife, Savannah, does merchandising.

The new team began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month and then a soft opening. Early reviews were solid.

“It’s been fine,” Ian said during a break this week. “A lot of people have been receptive to it.”

They’re Loudon natives and residents, graduates of Concord Christian Academy, part of a family with deep, traditional Italian roots. Membership is sacred, loyalty vital. You win their hearts, you’re in.

Samantha Rose of Loudon and Anna Westerberg of Concord, working the bar one day this week, have bonds with the Nemiccolos, strong enough to incorporate them into the family fold.

Chuck is 39, the older brother who drove little Ian, 28, to school and shooed him away when Ian attempted to infiltrate Chuck’s orbit, his high school friends.

“I always looked up to my big brother,” Ian said. “That’s obvious; we decided to work together.”

Big brother got the coffee bug while working in Colorado. The idea of coffee and laptops and tables, a place where everyone knows your name, became appealing.

He moved back to Loudon, preferring the slower pace here, and tossed his dream into the backfile of his mind years ago. But not before mentioning his vision to Ian.

“Different walks of life can get together and drink coffee,” Chuck said. “I’ve always had this dream. This here is the dream.”

He extended his arm and swept his hand out in front of him, directing attention to what’s there now, something different than True Brew, with a few similarities as well.

The bar side of True Brew served alcohol and featured live music, adding a gritty flavor to the scene.

Now, there are fresh, dark wooden tables and local, framed artwork hanging on the walls with prices on little white cards. Baked goodies, including gluten-free and vegan, are sold.

Booze and beer won’t be sold.

Instead, the brothers have created an inviting workspace, with electrical outlets everywhere and lower tables available for ergonomically correct typing. The windows peek out into the Bicentennial bricks.

The other side of the establishment, once True Brew’s relaxed coffee bar, now leads to the bathrooms and provides a space for employees to relax at lunchtime. The original plan called for an espresso-to-go format there.

That idea was shelved, however, allowing the staff to focus on the face-to-face aspect of the business. So far, so good.

“I think people have been excited that something was coming back after the pandemic,” said Rose, the close family friend who works the coffee bar. “People have missed a lot of different things, and this type of place was one of them.”

Someday, Ian and Chuck said, they’d like to add a kitchen on that vacant side, plus stage poetry readings and, perhaps, live music.

They want to be good, really good, and they know true blue True Brew people will be taking notes. Sort of like Patriots fans the past three months.

“We want to highlight New Hampshire with local artists and local bakers,” Ian said. “We encourage people to come in here to work and to work all day long.”

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

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