Is there a better way to start your day than enjoying a fresh brewed espresso, sitting on the end of a historic wharf looking out into Newport Harbor? For twenty years Alyssa Gladchun has owned and operated Newport’s most scenic coffee shop, The Coffee Grinder, located at the end of Bannister’s Wharf, adjacent to the marina.
Alyssa was born in Washington, DC. Her mother is Australian and her father is Italian. Her parents had a winery in Virginia where she worked during the summer months. She attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and moved to Newport in 1994 after graduation.
After some thought, Alyssa moved to Australia to attend medical school and got a job at a Coffee shop in Sydney to offset expenses (now you see how that heritage comment earlier comes full circle!). After spending a few years in her mother’s homeland and acquiring her father’s taste for a proper espresso, Alyssa moved back to Newport and opened The Coffee Grinder. On April 3, 2018, the Coffee Grinder celebrated its 20th anniversary in business!
Alyssa is married to her loving husband Jeff and she has a 10-year-old daughter, a 7-year-old son and 5-month-old chocolate lab puppy (that Santa brought last year…she now says she’s uncertain whether he will be welcomed back in the house this coming Christmas!).
Barista/coffee shop owner.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
The best thing you ever drank?
The worst thing you ever drank?
Many other espressos.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Proudest accomplishment in life?
The birth of my children and yesterday (April 3rd) was my 20th anniversary of opening the Coffee Grinder!
You’re offered a shot, what are you shooting?
Espresso, of course.
Most embarrassing moment?
Hmm, I am sure it was something I did in college that only my friends would remember!
Place you’d like to visit the most?
Bora Bora because my daughter really wants to go there.
I would have to ask my kids…probably the 1st season of House of Cards.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Favorite bar in town?
I don’t really drink and I work too much to go out!
Favorite bar out of town?
Bar De L’Oubli in St. Barths. I haven’t been there in a long time but I always loved being there.
Weirdest 7/11 purchase?
Milk at 2 am for the Coffee Grinder.
Last book you’ve read or recommend?
Watership Down or The Giving Tree (definitely the last book I have read, I read it to my kids often!)
If you could be on any game show, what would it be?
I would like to be smart enough to be on Jeopardy but I feel much smarter if I were on Wheel of Fortune…or Price is Right, I’ve always wanted to be on that!
Officer and a Gentleman (or Watership Down!)
If you had to listen to one album on loop for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What’s a hobby you’ve had or currently have?
Ideal Newport meal. (Combination of restaurants around town)
Favorite App, Entree, Dessert, Drink?
Bag of Donuts at the Mooring/ Lobster Roll at Anthony’s / Snowball at the Cooke House / Glass of Red Wine in one of Castle Hill’s fabulous large wine glasses!
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Anything with my kids
Best meal you’ve ever had?
Dinner at Pronto on my 1st date with my now husband- guess the meal must have been good!
If you didn’t live in Rhode Island, where would you be?
Preferred hangover regime?
It has been a really long time- I think Berocca(sp) and Big Jim’s for lunch in Charlottesville.
Biggest pet-peeve while working?
There is no bathroom close by!
If you had to drink only one alcoholic beverage for the rest of your life what would it be?
Favorite place on Aquidneck Island?
If you could change one thing about Newport, what would it be?
I would have a designated parking space.
Weirdest request you’ve ever been asked while working?
There’s so many- hard to chose…To toast someone’s bagel, from somewhere else or to pop popcorn in my microwave.
If you had one superpower what would it be?
To fly of course- I could get many more places in my limited time off
What’s your spirit animal?
I took the “spirit animal” quiz and it said, tiger?
If you could have dinner with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be?
My daughter, my son and my husband because I know I would enjoy their company!! Maybe Ronald Reagan if my family was busy.
Two words that describe you?
What do you know now that you wish you’d known ten years ago?
How much work owning a coffee shop is!
If you rented a billboard for a day, what would be on it?
A picture of Rio…that was added by my daughter!
The Coffee Grinder is located at 33 Bannisters Wharf in Newport and online at www.coffeegrindernewport.com
Shift Drinks is a new weekly column on WhatsUpNewp that hopes to highlight local hospitality professionals around town. With so many unique, talented and passionate individuals working in the service industry, this series aims to introduce some new faces, feature some familiar ones and give you an insight into their lives outside the workplace. To see more in this series, visit https://whatsupnewp.com/category/shift-drinks/
Tyler Bernadyn is a local hospitality professional, bartending at Midtown Oyster Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights on the Burgee Bar and at Caleb&Broad on Monday nights for their award-winning $10 entree dinner special.
Tyler is a graduate of Providence College and a true Rhode Islander, born and bred.
Email him at TylerBernadyn@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram at @tylerbernadyn.