The Laughing Latte gets ready to brew

When New York native Dino Espejo picked up a spot in lower Highland at 32nd and Tejon, he projected, optimistically, that he'd open his coffee shop, the Laughing Latte, sometime in December.

Four months later, he's finally hiring his staff, stocking his coffee beans and getting ready to brew.

There were permitting delays with the buildout, and Espejo wasn't able to move ahead with his final phase of construction until February. But that's all behind him now, and the space, bedecked with bright colors, exposed brick and dark woods, is getting the finishing touches.

When he does start pouring, he'll brew coffee from Novo, our pick for Denver's Best Local Roaster in the Best of Denver 2011, paired with pastries and treats that he's waiting to unveil until the shop is open.

Which, he hopes, will be this week.

"We're still waiting on a couple of inspections," he says. "Cross your fingers, cross your toes, it should be Friday."

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