Happy Man, Happy Bar.


by Mary Stover

Hot espresso pours out of the portafilter into a porcelain cup. The milk sputters and spits while it steams in the steel pitcher. A barista eases the milk into the cup, and the milk blends gently with the coffee, creating a caramel-color pool topped with velvety, white foam. The barista, smiling, places the cappuccino on the tray and carries it to a grateful recipient who waits in the morning sun. This is the essence of Be Happy Bar. quote

Two years ago, Christian Rocchetti opened Be Happy Bar on the southeast side of Cagli, Italy. The building, once a pasticceria, was the perfect location for his new business. Already the owner of Il Grillo Parlante -- a restaurant open during summers on Mount Petrano above Cagli -- Christian was prepared for a new challenge in a popular spot. Inspiration for such a venture came from Christian’s desire to create full-time employment for himself and his sister while serving his community with a smile.

Every baked item in the store is made from scratch; he, his mother and sister make each delicious creation by hand every morning. Brioche, biscotti, crostatas, pizzas, panini and more – these are the treats found in the cooled cases throughout Be Happy Bar.

Christian says he wants his bar to keep his customers smiling throughout the day. Written on all four walls are quotes Christian hears from wiser elders or finds in books, on the Internet, in songs and on film. Smiley-faced cookies, postcards and photos of clients turned friends line the walls behind the counters. The ceiling boasts an enormous yellow smiley face, winking and sticking its tongue out at those willing to look up. The ambiance is light-hearted and welcoming. Outside, bright lime-green chairs welcome customers inside where they are greeted by energetic colors and cheerful staff.

Christian was born and raised outside of Rome in Rieti. In 1992, his father transferred to Cagli for work, and the family has called the town home since. After college, Christian worked in a ristorante for a few years, learning the trade. At the age of 23, he opened Il Grillo Parlante. Once his sister graduated from college, the two set about finding the perfect project for them both. An older gentleman who knew the business taught the Rocchettis everything he knew about sweets.

Rocchetti is a world traveler who wishes to continue exploring the globe to learn how people live in other cultures. His travels have taken him to Egypt and England, and he hopes to someday visit the United States. Along with the quotes, vibrant, colorful travel posters also adorn the walls of the caffè. He hopes to visit them all soon.

“The big city is the dream,” he says.

Eventually, Christian says he hopes to open an authentic Italian ristorante featuring homemade pastas. Food is a far cry from his college education in computers, but Christian is driven by happiness. He wants to encourage his clientele to do something they like. He wants them to feel at home and relaxed at his caffè.

“When you reach your goal, and you have what you need at the moment, you are happy,” Christian says, his smile reassuring and engaging.

Whatever future business he creates or community he serves, those who meet Christian will be all the better for it. Happy man. Happy Bar.

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To find out more information about how
you can participate or support the Cagli project, contact:

Name: Shannon Zaranski
Phone:+1 509 - 313 - 3569
Email: zaranski@gonzaga.edu
Director: Dr. John Caputo
E-mail: caputo@gonzaga.edu