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ITHACA , N.Y. — The bright fuchsia La Marzocco espresso machine whirs to life next to a pastry display of Nutella Danishes and cheddar chive scones, atop a glass case of panini bursting with homemade mozzarella.

If you’re looking to beat the morning grab-and-go coffee rush (and for now, any rush) head to Café Gola’s, Gola Osteria’s Euro-style café tucked into the gleaming new Breazzano Family Center for Business at 209 Dryden Ave.

Café Gola is styled as walk-up cafe. Sam Epps, Gola’s chef, says that the feel is almost like at an autostrada, with its ubiquitous coffee bars found by major highways in Italy.

“You come in, you drink an espresso and you walk away with a pastry in your hand,” said Epps.

(Still, there is seating in the Center’s lobby if you do want to lounge for a while with a laptop.)

The café quietly opened October 2 in the Center’s lobby. Classes are in session in the building, but the atmosphere ahead of the official ribbon cutting on October 18 is less frenetic than the rest of Collegetown.

“We’re offering a different style of food that you don’t see in Collegetown,” said Gola co-owner Kami Drake Epps.

That includes pastries from Fat Boy Bakery, coffee from Forty Weight Coffee Roasters and a selection of panini and salads, prepared at Gola Osteria and assembled at the café.

As always, Gola has a strong emphasis on partnering with local purveyors. The only other place to get Fat Boy’s delectable croissants, scones and Danishes is Wednesday evenings at the East Hill Plaza Farmers Market.

The coffee and espresso-based drinks are a major highlight, and Forty Weight’s staff helped train the cafe to operate the brand new La Marzocco espresso machine, built and made in Florence, “considered the espresso-maker on the planet,” said Epps.

For breakfast, the cafe will feature smoothies, Maple Hill Creamery yogurt and “Gola granola” made with oats, golden raisins, local maple syrup. In addition, there are panini available for both breakfast and lunch: in the morning, one can order Nutella and banana, Granny Smith apples, honey and goat cheese or Prosciutto crudo and Fontinella cheese panini.

At lunchtime, Epps’ favorite is the marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and goat cheese panini, though his all-time favorite is the hot soppresata.

Stay tuned for more goings on from Gola: their catering business is busier than ever, and in a month the cafe will also carry packages of homemade pasta, and cookies, biscotti and pignoli to take home.

The current hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Jennifer Wholey is a feature writer and Head of Dining Partnerships for the Ithaca Voice. Contact her at