Entrepreneur hopes to open unique coffee shop in downtown Norwich

Norwich — It's a bit unusual for a downtown coffee shop to need a special permit from the city as a food manufacturer and maybe even more strange that the shop owner would need a liquor license, but that's the plan for the proposed Craftsman Cliff Roasters coffee shop at 34 Broadway in downtown Norwich.

Matthew Dutrumble of Norwich plans to open the multifaceted coffee shop on lower Broadway once he obtains the planning, zoning, health and building permits he needs for his dream project.

A retail coffee shop already would be allowed in the commercial building, but Dutrumble also plans to roast coffee and cacao beans and package the products to sell to local breweries for craft coffee and chocolate-flavored beers. Thus the operation would be categorized as a food manufacturer — producing and packaging food products to be sold to other businesses, Norwich City Planner Deanna Rhodes said.

The Commission on the City Plan will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the planning office, 23 Union St., on Dutrumble's special permit application for food manufacture use at an approved retail establishment. The commission could vote on the permit following the public hearing.

Dutrumble also is applying for a liquor license from the state of Connecticut, and not just for the products to be sold to breweries. Dutrumble hopes to hold cocktail and liqueur classes to show people how to concoct drinks using coffee and chocolate — “spiked hot chocolate,” he said.

Dutrumble said he has 20 years of experience in the culinary business after graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Providence and moved back to Norwich after working for the past two decades in San Francisco in what he called the “Silicon Valley cafe tradition.”

“I really want to bring that tradition to Norwich,” he said.

Dutrumble said he named Craftsman Cliff Roasters after his father, Clifford Dutrumble, whose nickname was “the Craftsman” for his handyman skills.

Jason Vincent, a partner owner in the new Epicure Brewing brewhouse that opened in June at 40 Franklin St., a few blocks from where Craftsman Cliff would be located, said he has been talking with Dutrumble about a proposed collaboration long before he submitted his plans.

Vincent not only would be interested in buying Dutrumble's roasted coffee and cacao products, but he hopes in the future to be able to bring raw malt to Dutrumble's facility to be roasted for Epicure's brewing.

“We're always looking to collaborate with other businesses,” Vincent said. “We're really excited to have his enthusiasm and his experience come to downtown.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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