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Vietnamese coffee shop to open in newly renovated Paddock Arcade

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WATERTOWN — Han Le is bringing Vietnamese coffees and culture to the newly renovated Paddock Arcade.

Ms. Le, who lived in Vietnam until she was 17, is opening a coffee shop that specializes in coffees from her native land. She hopes to open Caffeineholic in early January in the Paddock Arcade storefront that formerly housed Europe Cakes.

Her shop will serve Vietnamese coffee called phin.

“It’s stronger than American coffee and has more flavor,” she said.

Vietnamese coffee is rich, flavorful and sweet, brewed from Vietnamese coffee beans using a special filter. Robusta coffee beans are used to make it, she said.

She’s a third-generation Vietnamese coffee maker. Her grandmother and parents ran coffee shops in Vietnam before the family moved to the United States.

“I make my own kind of coffee,” she said. “I love coffee. I’ve drank coffee since I was 12.”

Ms. Le, 22, came to America to study at South Seattle College. Her family lived on the West Coast until they moved to Texas during the pandemic to be closer to aunts and other family members, where she met her husband, Sgt. Michael Kellbher, who serves in the Army and was assigned to Fort Drum last March.

Besides her love of coffee, she wanted to bring her Vietnamese culture to the north country, she said.

They looked for a location for the coffee shop for a while, but finally met Jake Johnson, owner of the Paddock Arcade, the perfect spot for her business, she said.

Caffeineholic will also offer coffee mugs and other merchandise, bags of coffee and baked goods from a local bakery. The coffee shop will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

The Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, is providing a $50,000 loan to the business to buy equipment and for renovations.

Caffeineholic is good news for the Paddock and downtown, said Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Trust.

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