Café Cello, located downtown across Yamhill Street from the Central Library, shares a Victorian-style house with the Pulse Salon. The café is fairly intimate, with five tables plus a row of seats along the front window. You can sit at tables on the front sidewalk if you prefer to watch the Max trains pass by. Inside, the deep red walls give the space enough character to be interesting, but are not so outlandish that they are distracting. The café has a couple stuffed chairs that are good for sitting and reading.
This was my second visit to Café Cello. I ordered an iced Americano and the total came to $1.95. I would have ordered an iced tea, but I thought the $2.55 price was a little steep. When I arrived, opera music was being played over the speakers (opera and symphony music seem to be the only music played there, appropriate for the “cello” theme). The volume was up just a little too loud until one of the other patrons asked the manager to turn it down. On my previous visit I had come here in the morning and the soft classical music was very relaxing. Today, I would have preferred silence, but that was just the mood I was in.
The café is geared more towards early risers than for late night studiers. I was surprised when I looked at the hours (which I did only after ordering my drink, of course) The café closes at 4pm, and it was after 3pm when I arrived. I had to drink my Americano quickly! If I go back, I’ll be sure to get there earlier.
I was able to speak with Michelle, the owner. She took over the café in January 2010 after working for ten years at a local Japanese Restaurant. She was ready for something different, and has enjoyed the transition to café owner.
The Americano was fine—not bad, not great. Overall, I would say that if you want a place to sit and read books, Café Cello is a good place to do that, especially if you get downtown before the library opens.
Address: 1023 SW Yamhill Street, Portland , OR 97205 (map)
Coffee: Nossa Familia
Recommend it? For reading in the mornings
Hours: Monday-Friday 6am-4pm