The End of an Era: The Affogato Cafe (Home to The Baristas) Is Closed for Good

The empty Affogato Cafe in Pittsburgh

And that’s the end of that…

Remember how the Affogato cafe, where we film The Baristas, was sold last August?  And how we filmed all around the renovations the new owners were making to the space?

Well, for business reasons that have nothing to do with us, it turns out that the cafe won’t be staying open after all.  Instead, it’s being shut down entirely — and it’s already empty.

That photo above is what Affogato looks like today, without any fixtures, seats, bookshelves (which have been gone for months), or its fabled round table coffee bar (which [spoiler alert!] was actually a repurposed Dockers’ promotional display).

Yes, gone are all the secrets — and the memories — of Affogato, just like that.

Considering we’ve been filming there since 2006 (back before The Baristas, when we were producing its precursor, Something to Be Desired), it’s a sad day for us.  Affogato was more than just a location to us; it was a neighborhood hangout that we’d come to think of as our second home.  (And not just because we spent more time there than some of the actual employees.)

And what about the future of The Baristas?

Good question…

Thematically, continuing the show is always a possibility.  With Dierdre, Sam and Madison all having either quit or been fired from Affogato during our first season, we could easily follow one (or all) of them to a new cafe… or Glenn, if he decides he can’t be a regular customer anymore under the joyless Lorraine regime.

However, production-wise, continuing the show would be a little more difficult.  Not only would we need to find a new cafe, but it would need to be a cafe that doesn’t mind us treating it like a second home.  We’d built a relationship with Affogato over the course of 5 years, and that kind of trust can’t be instantly created in a new location.

But no matter what might happen next, it’s now unavoidably true that The Baristas — and, in reality, the Bellevue neighborhood of Pittsburgh where Affogato once stood — will never be the same.

Just for fun, here are five of our favorite episodes of Something to Be Desired that we ever filmed in Affogato.  From iJustine to Halloween, that cafe has seen it all…

STBD Season 4 Halloween Special — in which zombies overrun Pittsburgh, and Dierdre (Lacey Fleming) leaves her hapless coworker Tim (Ryan Ben) to fend for himself in the cafe while she heads to a Halloween party that’s gone horribly, blood-spillingly wrong…

STBD 4-17: “Rabbit” — in which Rich (Erik Schark) shares an old family superstition, and we glimpse the ever-eavesdropping Glenn (Rick Hertzig) for the very first time.

STBD 4-28: “Tim Takes a Stand” — in which Tim must defend his girlfriend Veronica (Justine Ezarik) from the lusty advances of guest-starring musician Matthew Ebel.

STBD 5-4: “Creative or Desperate?” — one of many altercations between Dierdre and her morally bankrupt co-barista, Brent (Josh Hansen).

STBD 6-7: “The Red Scare” — in which Brent hopes to get laid for the first time, Sam (Shaun Starke) and Astrid (Laura Lee Brautigam) might never have sex again, and Amy (Heather Beschizza) is pretty sure she and Glenn are never going to get out of here…

So long, Big Red A, and thanks for all the memories.


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