You’d think that Peter Meyer, owner of in Newton Highlands would have been overjoyed when in December. After all, this could only mean more business for him, right?
Well, according to Meyer, it’s a bit of a mixed blessing.
“In the short term, it’s definitely been good for us,” Meyer explains. “Longer term, we need something in that spot. The other businesses that don’t serve food are suffering, and you can see that by the availability of parking now.”
It’s not altogether surprising that Meyer has such a strong sense of community and concern for his fellow Newton Highlands businesspeople. After all, he serves on the and even went so far as to avoid selling greeting cards at Lincoln Street Coffee until the adjacent business that carried them had closed.
Meyer got his start in hotel management, having moved up through the ranks from parking cars at The Ritz-Carlton when he was a senior at . He has managed such hotels as The Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey and was the rooms manager that helped open the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston.
This working with various people in a broad range of positions and situations may be what gives Meyer his unflappable nature.
During his interview with Newton Patch, Meyer was taken away for a moment after the coffee shop's cash register started acting up. While some owners would have been running around in circles and tearing their hair out, Meyer calmly reset the system and told his workers how to adjust for the reset.
Meyer’s own life got a bit of a reset when he opened Lincoln Street Coffee. Used to the hotel business and being on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the more limited parameters of owning a store proved to be a welcome revelation to Meyer.
“I remember the first day we were open, when we closed I went to the door and locked it,” chuckles Meyer. “And I remember thinking ‘this is great! The day is done!’ There’s actually a beginning and an end to the day, to the experience.”
That’s not to say that Meyer is always able to resist the familiar urge to do more. When Lincoln Street Coffee opened on March 1, 2005, they just served coffee, espresso and other “usual” coffee house beverages. But after about five months, Meyer expanded the menu to include sandwiches, smoothies, baked goods and many of the offerings you now see.
When Ice Cream Works went out of business across the street, he shifted from selling gelato to selling ice cream since Meyer says, “it’s probably ten times more popular.”
For about three years, Lincoln Street Coffee also had live music on Friday nights. But this came at a price.
“People who performed here loved it because people would sit and just listen,” Meyer states. “But people would walk in the door and look in, like it was a recording studio- quiet- and say (Meyer whispers) ‘I’d like an ice cream, please.’ Or they’d just leave.”
Another more recent addition to the business is the Lincoln Street Coffee truck, which will again hit the streets in April. Parked on weekday mornings by Boston University’s Morse Auditorium and visiting local sporting events and markets on the weekends, this mobile café allows Meyer and his crew to sell coffee, espresso, breakfast sandwiches, pastries and smoothies on the go.
Meyer concedes that at first he “spent too much time on the truck” but has since been able to better balance his time between the two locations with his responsibilities as a husband and father. But his original vision of the coffee shop is still foremost in Meyer’s mind.
“We just wanted to open a place that was serene, a place that was meant to be an oasis, to get away for fifteen or twenty minutes from your job, from your family- or with your family. And that’s Lincoln Street Coffee.”