Italian native Amelia Di Marco just moved to Denver earlier this year after eleven years in New York City, but she has already added a piece of her personality to the Platt Park neighborhood, where she just opened a tiny cafe called Little Spoons at 1705 South Pearl Street last week. Little Spoons captures Di Marco's spirit, history and loves with its menu of pastries, panini, coffee, tea and fresh juices.
The cafe occupies the landing at the top of a short flight of stairs inside the Karma Yoga center, a sunny building that also houses several health and wellness businesses. Di Marco worked all summer to add a kitchen, pastry case and a lunch counter with four stools to the space, which first attracted her attention when she was taking yoga classes at the studio across the hall.
The name of the cafe comes from a collection of spoons that have been in Di Marco's family for generations, passed on to her from her grandmother (who is also named Amelia). The decor reflects the owner's love of eclectic objects and includes a vintage stove that serves as a coffee station but which DiMarco says is in working condition.
Di Marco was born in southern Italy but moved all over the country as a child, with much of that time spent in Tuscany. "I've been cooking since I was three years old," she explains.
She bakes some of the pastries herself and sources croissants and bread from La Fillette Bakery
, which she chose because of owner Melissa Yanc's dedication to European baking methods. Panini ingredients reflect Di Marco's travels in Italy, with speck, prosciutto, Tallegio cheese and combinations of sweet and savory ingredients (fig and quince jam, for example) that she grew up with. "I am Italian, so I am very attentive to what's seasonal," she adds, noting that she makes all of the jams and condiments for the panini herself.
Coffee is made with beans from Devocion, a roaster with coffeehouses in Bogota and Brooklyn. Tea selections come from Løv Organic (a Swedish company whose name, pronounced "lof," means leaf). Di Marco makes fresh juice blends to order, with ingredients ranging from pear, apple and mango to mint, ginger, turmeric and beets.
Little Spoons is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Di Marco is the sole owner and employee, so you'll definitely experience her personality firsthand when you go.