Adamson square now offers Carrollton residents a taste of international flair thanks to one Carrollton entrepreneur.
A trip to Italy in 2008 gave born and raised Carrolltonite Dawn Cook the inspiration to start her own coffee shop, Bella Coffee, at its original location on Maple St.
“[Travel] changes you,” says Cook. “There is nothing like the love of the people and the love of the food. I’ve been every year since.”
Cook grew to love the quirks and customs of Italian culture from the friendly ease of conversation with locals to the temperature of her daily cup of coffee. While she knew that her idea was different fromthe usual offerings in Carrollton, she knew that she could attract people who shared her vision.
“For me, it was pure frustration,” says Cook. “I can’t go to a coffee house and order a cappuccino. I feel the need to put something in because it’s bitter. It’s too hot. I knew that if I stuck to the Italian way with no sugar and the perfect temperature to drink it that my people would flock to it and be excited about it.”
Bella Coffee operated under Cook’s ownership after its 2009 opening before she sold the shop to an employee. She instantly regretted it and decided to try again with a location on Bankhead Highway which proved to be a success. However, Cook never imagined she would claim a spot in downtown Carrollton.
“We opened on Adamson’s square on Nov. 5,” says Cook. “It was last minute and out of the blue. It was more of a God thing. Everything just fell into place because I never even thought I could be on the square.”
Cook has big plans for downtown Bella that soar beyond just coffee. She wants to convey the entire Italian shopping experience within the walls of her shop.
“I’m able to have the Italian market with everything imported from Italy,” says Cook. “We are also going to open a wine room in the back and we’re going to have aperitivo from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. You can come have a spritz or glass of wine before dinner, and then we’ll have charcuterie and salads and I make homemade focaccia bread.
“To be able to have aperitivo and our Italian market and a good cup of coffee is pure selfishness, and it’s been so well received,” Cook continues.
Being a victim of sexual abuse as a child gave Cook the inspiration to start a non-profit to help children who were once in her position.
“100 percent of our tips goes towards that,” says Cook. “The ultimate long-term goal is to be able to take a child that’s been placed into foster care and give them a new wardrobe, a haircut, get their teeth cleaned and give them anything they need before they just pop them into school, wearing the same clothes day in and day out.”
Bella Coffee on Adamson square is now open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and stays open until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a great place to study, hang out and grab a $3.50 cappuccino,” says Cook. “That alone is the most important thing to me. That’s one thing I tell my girls, if you don’t understand the cappuccino, it’s the foundation. It’s everything.
“Bella is a beautiful cup of coffee,” Cook continues. “That’s where Bella comes from.”