Eleven years of hard work has finally paid off for Rhode Island natives Jay and Jessica Case. In June they opened the Presto Strange O café right in their own neighborhood of Warwick Neck, …
Eleven years of hard work has finally paid off for Rhode Island natives Jay and Jessica Case. In June they opened the Presto Strange O café right in their own neighborhood of Warwick Neck, which has been nothing but a success.
“Always wanted a shop, just could never find the place, when this one went up for sale, in our very own neighborhood we knew it would make a great shop. The neighborhood needed something like this,” said Jessica. The building that once was half dog salon and half beauty parlor has been transformed into a café.
Everything is made from scratch with the exception of the donut shells because the kitchen is not equipped with a fryolator. What makes the menu so unique is that the recipes aren’t just from the Case cookbook but the neighborhood. Neighbors pass down recipes and ideas. They come in with food and a recipe to add to the growing menu. Jessica says their signature would most likely be the Vietnamese iced coffee and the coffee mug latte. For herself the journey chai latte is the standout. Sophia Ramirez is a barista at Presto Strange O and her mother has joined in on the menu. She wanted to offer up some of her traditional Portuguese treats. Only time will tell what treats will be added to the menu.
The dark and woodsy design of the café is exactly what Jessica pictured. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available.
“This is the coffee shop I’ve always wanted to go into,” said Jessica. A coffee shop where she knew people would fill comfortable in.
In 2010 Jay and Jessica left their full time jobs and opened Presto Strange O on wheels, a coffee food truck. But their goal was to one day have a café. They work private events, food truck nights, flea markets, movie and TV sets and wherever they are called all across Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. They’ve sold coffee and treats on the set of Dexter around five times, the Nosferatu AMC series, the set of Space Oddity an upcoming movie and most recently finished working on the Halle Berry movie Mothership.
“We worked in film and TV production together for awhile, very prevalent here in Rhode Island and then it started to die down. Then we were mostly working in Boston and it just became too long of a commute. This was something that we always talked about doing so then it was finally time to take that step,” said Jessica.
Jay attended Warwick Veterans Memorial High School and Jessica went to Classical High School. They both went to CCRI for a little but did not enjoy being in a classroom. They originally met during their college years in a coffee shop in Johnston and had their first formal “hangout” at a Starbucks. Jessica said she didn’t really think about how funny that was until now as a café owner herself. It’s safe to say their love of coffee played a vital role in their relationship. When they met Jay was working sound in the local film industry. In 2006 they tied the knot and Jessica joined Jay in the film and TV industry where they worked as set designers. Little did they know that in four years they would leave for something bigger.
Although Jessica says the movie business was a lot of fun she enjoys being able to be her own boss along with her husband. It has also allowed her to home school their daughter Juliet, who helps out in the shop. Jessica talked about how she hopes to pass down the business one day to Juliet. They also hope Juliet’s friend and dance partner Elle can visit the new café once covid cases lower. Elle lives in England and met Juliet when their families were vacationing in Orlando in February of 2020. For now they keep in touch via zoom and Instagram.
“We’re really happy that we can bring something like this to our own neighborhood,” said Jessica. The Cases have expressed their gratitude for those in the neighborhood who have welcomed them and supported their business. Other then their drinks most people walk away remembering the name, Presto Strange O. The answer to how the name came to be is a surprise to most.
“It just popped in my head one day,” said Jessica. I guess that’s a sign it’s meant to be.