Andrew Gutt ’09

Andrew Gutt ’09 is an Eastern graduate establishing himself as a member of Willimantic’s business community. His dream of opening his first restaurant was realized in November 2009 in the form of Cafémantic, a local café serving coffee, espresso, tea and light fare that opened on Main Street in downtown Willimantic. While he always imagined himself opening a restaurant, the timing and location all came together during his senior year. The café’s building at 948 Main Street was undergoing a transformation. Gutt paid close attention to the renovations, unable to imagine anything but a coffee shop inside the space’s new façade. While attending Eastern, Gutt always felt that a coffee shop was something that Willimantic was lacking, so he took it upon himself to try and open one. “I looked at this space and a few others,” Gutt said, sitting on a bench just outside his shop, “I decided that if I couldn’t get this location, it meant that it was not the right time for me to take on this project.”

Gutt acquired the space and began the long process of renovating the inside to match his vision. “I’ve learned that it’s double the cost and triple the time,” he said. The challenges didn’t faze Gutt, who approached the endeavor with a cool calm. He attributes his demeanor, in part, to surrounding himself with supportive people, from family and friends to a landlord and carpenter who are all vested in his success. “It’s like building a little family.”

Gutt feels the town has a lot of things going for it, and he hopes that Cafémantic will become another piece of the puzzle. He sees his restaurant as “a symbol of the community taking another big step forward in uniting the town and the university.”