The tantalizing scent of freshly roasted coffee summons a brisk breakfast business for Hatti Beasly’s Coffee Shop and Lunch Bar, located at the intersection of two major streets on Portsmouth’s hilltop area. Manager Beth Haney says the shop’s coffee aroma can be detected throughout the neighborhood and beyond, attracting customers for both inside and drive-through service.
Recently celebrating its sixth year in business, the family-owned and operated restaurant on Kinneys Lane is open from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Friday. Business is good at the “coffee shop boutique,” as Haney likes to call it.
“We’re still blossoming,” added Haney who sees new customers every day. Staff, patients and drug reps from new doctors’ offices and King’s Daughters Medical Center nearby constantly create additional traffic, along with long-established patrons. Haney’s sister Amy Hassel operates Gabby’s, a beauty salon next door whose employees and clients often run over for coffee, breakfast treats and lunch throughout the day.
Haney starts the coffee roasting with green beans at 7 a.m. each weekday morning, offering coffees from 10 different countries, along with flavored coffees in bulk. Two flavors are sold on tap each day. Southern Pecan, the most popular flavor, is available daily.
The shop’s second star attraction is gelato (Italian ice cream) made in a special Italian machine with authentic ingredients purchased through a New England distributor. Customers can choose from 15 flavors. Ann Oberling, Haney’s mother, had the inspiration for the gelato and supervises its production.
“It contains 100 percent organic ingredients,” Oberling explained. “It’s not as grainy as ice cream. It’s as smooth as silk.”
The original idea to open a restaurant featuring imported coffees and unique sandwiches in a relaxed setting came from Oberling’s son-in-law David Hassel. His father-in-law Henry Oberling, long-time Portsmouth automobile dealer, had purchased the building that for decades had housed Goodwins’ Market. Hassel designed the interior with cheerful red and gold walls; a large wall mural depicting coffees of the Americas, Africa and Indonesia; and other interesting elements of restaurant décor. However, Hassel soon found he could not handle the demands of the shop with his busy schedule as a traveling pharmaceutical salesman.
With the shop already in operation and the gelato preparations set to launch, Ann Oberling decided she would buy the business and continue its operation with the help of her daughter. The two women added decorative flourishes like stained glass arches from an old Big Boy Restaurant over the front windows and Tiffany-style lamps above the counter from the original Wendy’s on Scioto Trail, preserving bits of Portsmouth’s restaurant traditions.
Next, they installed a variety of wall art including photographs by New Boston photographer Charles Clevenger and paintings by college art student Elizabeth Banalagay, which are for sale. Two years ago, Haney added a retail aspect to Hatti Beasly’s offering jewelry, coffee and kitchen related wares, small gift items, greeting cards and the biggest attraction – Spartina purses, billfolds, scarves and belts. Hatti Beasly’s is an exclusive outlet for Spartina sales in the area, according to Haney, and a top seller in the country.
The result of the Oberling family’s efforts is a weekday café, offering a menu of tasty food, great service, unique gifts and, most importantly – a warm friendly, family-type ambiance, welcoming new customers and old friends with their special brand of hospitality.
Hatti’s breakfast menu includes scones, muffins and bagels, breakfast sandwiches and the traditional biscuits and gravy. A selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups in a variety of combinations is available for lunch, with original creations such as Anne Oberling’s Cuban sandwich and a mesquite chicken wrap that Hassel invented. Henry Oberling’s vegetable beef soup, from his mother Lorena’s recipe, is a standard offering on Wednesdays; and little hot dogs, embellished with a variety of toppings, have been added as a popular choice, suggested by Oberling friend Gary Fisher. Ann’s family spaghetti recipe is another hit on Wednesdays and Fridays. Freshly baked cookies are always in the bakery case.
Menu prices are reasonable, ranging from 95 cents to $3.25 for breakfast items while lunch selections top out at $6.95. Coffees start at $1.50 with espresso, cappuccino and other specialities costing up to $3.25 depending on size. Most other beverages are priced at $1.99.
Customers are united in their praise for Hatti Beasly’s cordial family atmosphere and comfortable size while giving rave reviews to the genial hosts, efficient friendly servers and dependably delicious food. They also note Hatti Beasly’s convenient location and ample parking. Local optometrists Drs. Michael and Kelly Raies, whose office are just a few blocks away, can be found eating lunch at Hatti’s four days a week. The waitresses don’t have to take their orders; they just know what they want, reports Haney.
“It’s a great place for a nice break from our hectic schedules,” said Dr. Mike Raies, while his wife said she enjoys the good food, the pleasant atmosphere and the opportunity to greet friends and acquaintances who frequent Hatti Beasly’s.
Oh, by the way, David and Amy Hassel found the restaurant’s namesake, or a version of it, on an old deed when they were purchasing the house next door that became Gabby’s Beauty Salon. The real Hatti’s grand-daughter-in-law, who remembers that she liked to cook and garden, is thrilled that the Oberling family have memorialized her. Just another remarkable connection for this true family enterprise!
1406 Kinneys Lane
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Photos by Ashley G. Quinn