Café Culture in Pittsburgh’s Historic Strip District

Topics: Small Business

An #AmTrustInsured Coffee Shop & Café

Many consider the Strip District in Pittsburgh the heart of the city. Known for its good food, manufacturing and “old school” Pittsburgh mentality, it’s home to a variety of independently owned shops and stores. Over the past ten or so years, the area has also seen an influx of residential build, with more people flocking to live in the area. It has a regular draw of workers, ranging from manufacturing to new technology companies. Plus, the Strip District gets it’s fair share of tourists, even drawing international visitors.

That’s why Matt Marietti, Owner of De Fer Coffee & Tea, chose to open his shop in there in late 2017.



“It’s always attracted a diverse group of people,” Marietti said. “We wanted to be in a location where we got a really broad swath of customers because that’s what our business model is meant to handle.”

Marietti said he’s always been passionate about coffee and café culture. His wife manages the kitchen. “We are a café in the old world style, meaning that we have food, coffee – obviously – but also alcohol. So we have craft cocktails, local beer, difficult to find craft beer and really good food.”

De Fer also roasts their own coffee beans in-house on a six-pound San Franciscan roaster. The smaller roaster allows them to do smaller batches and create unique blends with a focus on sustainably sourced, higher-end coffees, which they sell along with other food items and merchandise. They also do coffee education and even latte brewing contests with other local cafes.

“Getting a cup of coffee, the brown liquid is only half the equation. It’s the packaging and the people; it’s the environment,” Marietti said. “People are really appreciating a third-place – not work, not home – that they can be comfortable and cozy. They can meet friends, family, business colleagues or go on a date – a café can serve all of those purposes.”


Working with AmTrust

As a newer business owner, Marietti said one of the biggest lessons he’s learned is to anticipate things you hadn’t expected.

“Insurance plays a big role in making sure we can sleep at night – we are prepared for anything life throws at us,” he said.

Marietti works with Stu Innerst at Rodgers Insurance Group for his business insurance needs. “We have a great relationship with our agent, Stu. He’s helped identify a few areas where we could be saving money without decreasing our coverage, and as a small business we are always looking for ways to save.”

The trust Marietti has with his agent was a critical reason he chose AmTrust for his workers’ compensation coverage.

“He recommended AmTrust. He said AmTrust has worked with many other similar businesses, which made me confident in going with AmTrust. Anytime everything has ever come up, both Stu and AmTrust have been super responsive. It’s been great,” he said.

Marietti said Stu continues to stop by to check in on the team and the business regularly. “He loves our coffee too, so I’m sure that doesn’t hurt!”


Employee Safety

De Fer has about 15 employees, most of whom are full time.

Marietti said they do educate the team on safety and coffee shop injury risks.

“We teach everyone to go slowly. Even when we are super busy, it’s about being thoughtful and very purposeful with your movements, which can get tough when we have a line of 15 people waiting and eight people working in a tight space. Luckily, we haven’t had any major incidents, just a few cuts and burns.”

Because his staff works around dangerous equipment like roasters and knives every day, Marietti says he feels better knowing that their workers’ compensation coverage with AmTrust is there to make sure everyone is taken care of when something happens.

“One of our cooks cut a finger in the kitchen, a small cut that needed a couple of stitches. AmTrust was awesome; everybody we dealt with was super-fast and responsive. It only took about ten minutes of our day. We’re really appreciative of that.”


Small Business Saturday

As a small business owner, Marietti understands the importance of days like Small Business Saturday that encourage customers to shop locally.

“Small Business Saturday is exciting for me because it gives us a reason to celebrate small independent businesses,” he said. “It gives everybody a reason to go out of the house, be social, and enjoy the awesome city we have and all the great merchants and stores. It is more than shopping; it’s about seeing our beautiful city.”

Marietti said De Fer plans to offer a special latte drink for Small Business Saturday. If you’re in the area, stop by to enjoy it!

Small Business Insurance Coverage from AmTrust

AmTrust Financial underwrites over 350 class codes, making us an ideal fit for a variety of small businesses. Learn more about our small business insurance coverage that can help keep you focused on what’s most important – growing your company. Contact us today to learn more.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.
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