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Thanks to its location, this incarnation of the Espresso Roma chain transcends its chainness. Occupying the entire corner of Ashby and College avenues, the site is like a cafe village. In the main serving area, there are a plethora of copper-topped tables. A well-situated bar serves beers on tap and wine. A separate room with free wi-fi provides a quiet workspace. The extensive menu includes many pizza and salad choices, hot and cold sandwiches, baked potatoes, pastries, desserts, and a wide a selection of Fair Trade coffee drinks. On the other hand, it must be said that sometimes the brusque service here falls just short of surly, and the coffee doesn’t garner rave reviews from customers. Still, this is an excellent place to meet a friend for lunch or to enjoy the prime view of passersby while lingering over The New York Times crossword puzzle.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

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