click to enlarge bartlettimage-cafe_linger_0604.jpg

Photo Rob Bartlett

Michael Brito and Christina Gribkowsky are out to set new standards with Cafe Linger 

College Park's newest coffee shop is also the neighborhood's homiest, which is probably not all too surprising seeing the place is called Café Linger. Sofas, bookcases, hutches and such lend to the café's welcoming, stay-for-a-while aspect, and it's all an effort by owners (and Johnson & Wales grads) Michael Brito and Christina Gribkowsky to endear themselves to their new community.

"Café Linger is our home away from home," says Brito, "and we make it a priority to make sure everyone feels completely comfortable and appreciated while they're here." And that sentiment extends to everyone they hire, he adds: "We're dedicated to helping our employees in any way we can, whether personally or professionally."

That their families are the ones who mentored them throughout their careers also comes as no surprise. "They've always supported and encouraged us to chase our dreams, but they also reminded us to always be humble and never forget where we came from and where it all started."

Humble they may be, but meek they're not. The two aim to keep ahead of current crazes and become trend-setters in a market that's becoming increasingly saturated. Brito says, "Christina and I are always looking for new ideas to incorporate into Café Linger's concept; listening to our customer and the market is key. We poll our guests, solicit honest feedback and glean ideas for improving every aspect of the experience."

Brito and Gribkowsky are clearly out to set the coffeehouse standard, so lend them your ears, College Park.

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