Married alumni open local cafe

Sarah Angle

When Villanova Class of ’03 alumni Matt and Alana Huber opened Tredici Café and Market this year at the Villanova train station, they had one thing in mind that would make them stand out from their predecessors: offer unique products, and not just coffee. The Paoli-Thorndale station café has changed ownership several times over the past five years, improving along the way. First, simply known as the Villanova Station Café, the spot offered coffee and espresso drinks, among a few other grab-n-go products. It was known for selling condoms, gum and cigarettes — contraband items on Villanova’s campus during the three years it was open. Last year, the coffee shop was re-branded as Caffe Craze, hoping to draw in more students with a punchy , sophisticated name and more offerings. Caffe Craze was actually operated under two different owners during its year-long existence, with the final owner bringing in more unique espresso drinks and diverse foods. This year the location has once again changed owners and has a whole new look and feel. 

“Villanova students have a more sophisticated palette than the typical college student,” says co-owner Alana Huber. She and her husband have brought new life to the constantly passed-by café along the train tracks. The new Tredici Café and Market is the Italian centric little sister of the full-scale Tredici Italian market in Wayne, and freshly made sandwiches and salads are brought to the Villanova location twice daily from Wayne. 

Tredici offers students a convenient and tasty alternative to on-campus dining options. Matt Huber attributes Tredici’s competitive edge to “better quality and unique products.” 

It’s certainly true that there is nowhere else on Villanova’s campus where you can grab Nutella and bananas on a croissant, the café’s most popular sandwich. Nor can you pick up the Hubers’ favorite menu item, the prosciutto, gorgonzola, arugula sandwich with walnut pesto and balsamic vinegar. Other lunch items include a variety of salads and sandwiches, with homemade soups to be added soon. In the morning, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches are a standard go-to for students, commuters and faculty alike, as are yogurt parfaits, bagels and muffins. Smoothies, hot and cold coffees and teas and espresso drinks are available throughout the day. Espresso drinks are made using imported Italian Torrisi espresso, and coffee comes from Lamont, a local roaster in West Chester, Pa. Fair trade and organic grounds are also available, and seasonal drinks will be added. 

Tredici is more than just a café, though: it offers a wide range of Italian groceries, such as imported Nutella, whole-wheat Neapolitan pasta, San Pellegrino, Orangina, pizelles, sauces, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and “ready risotto.” Several Italian drinks and candies sit beside standard items like coconut water, Greek yogurt, granola bars, bakery items, gum and chips. Dinners-to-go, like chicken or eggplant Parmesan, lasagna, baked ziti and other pasta and chicken dishes are available on a rotating basis for those who need some extra help in the kitchen. Dinners can even be pre-ordered, and groceries from the store in Wayne can also be requested for delivery, including gluten-free options.

With longer hours than its previous occupants, Tredici serves items from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. With luck, Tredici will be around for much longer than its predecessors.