Teas and Javas, a cafe launched by Alex and Ani Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Rafaelian, closed its Wayland Square location Oct. 11. The cafe will be replaced by Bar and Board Bistro, also owned by Rafaelian, in early 2019.
Teas and Javas opened its first-ever location at Wayland Square in 2012 and offered Providence residents brunch fixtures paired with coffee, tea, wine and beer.
The cafe shut its doors abruptly after months of local rumors that it was closing, said Nikki Patrizzi, general manager of the Wayland Square West Elm store.
“We’re all really bummed,” Patrizzi added. Teas and Javas “was a nice staple for the square.”
Liz Kelley, visual manager of the Wayland Square West Elm location, recalled Teas and Javas’ lavender chai with fondness. The cafe “was one of those coffee shops where you could sit outside, and everyone was always hanging out and lounging,” Kelley said. “It was a good vibe.”
Teas and Javas “brought a wide range (of people), demographic-wise, from students to working professionals” to Wayland Square, Patrizzi said. “It was just a nice eclectic mix, and we were lucky to have them.”
Other restaurants in Wayland Square include Pasta Beach, Salted Slate and Red Stripe. The closing of Teas and Javas leaves Starbucks and L’Artisan Cafe and Bakery as the primary coffee shops in the center of Wayland Square.
Assistant Manager of L’Artisan Meirav Werbel reported noticing a slight increase in the bakery’s business immediately after Teas and Javas closed.
Bar and Board Bistro replaced another Teas and Javas location in Newport but has been undergoing renovations after a fire in 2015.
Bar and Board’s entry is “good for the neighborhood, for the customers,” Werbel said. “As long as their business is in the neighborhood, then I think it’s wonderful.”
Kelley noted that many businesses in Newport were looking at Providence for a second location.
“It’s not like we want just anything coming in, but it seems like if it’s doing well in Newport, it could do well here,” Kelley said about Bar and Board.
Despite Teas and Javas’ departure, Patrizzi believes the area is “on the uptick.”
“We’re just really trying to turn (Wayland Square) into a hub for people to come meet, see beautiful art and for it to be a lively place,” Patrizzi said.
Wayland Square is “just one of those spots on the East Side where it’s pleasant to walk,” Kelley said. “There’s a lot of new families moving in, and it’s kind of just bustling. There’s just this great vibe of ‘Come and eat and hang out and walk.’”
A spokesperson from Alex and Ani declined to comment.