Press & Reviews
The Oregonian - April, 2008 - by Laura Oppenheimer
Have a blast close by without a lot of cash
Some participants want to maintain ties to their culture; others use conversation nights to prepare for international trips. Whatever their motives, they're happy to settle into local establishments such as the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall in Northwest Portland or the appropriately themed Costello's Travel Caffe across the river in Northeast Portland.
The Oregonian - Nov, 2007 - by Laura Oppenheimer
Talk among ourselves: There's a place here to speak almost anything
Foreign language groups were a natural fit for Costello, who opened the cafe in 2004 with his parents. The family films videos around the world to play on flat-screen televisions. Vintage travel posters, of steam boats or the Eiffel Tower, hang on latte-colored walls. International movies and music also find a home here.
PDX Magazine - May, 2007 - by Autum Dierking
Chris Costello — Costello's Travel Caffé
Chris Costello, 28, is passionate about travel, film and serving people. In 2004, he combined all three of these interests with the creation of his Euro-café brainchild, Costello's Travel Caffé.
During his time at University of Portland as an international business major, Costello spent a semester abroad in London followed by a whirlwind backpacking trip throughout Europe. When he graduated, knee-deep in the 2001 recession, he wanted to share his love for travel by way of a travel-themed café, but was unable to secure a loan.
Costello improved his business plan while working for another two years, receiving rejection after rejection from financial institutions until one finally took faith in him. The resulting café/restaurant/coffeehouse hybrid, a product of years of planning and inspiration, is a reflection of Costello himself: worldly and internationally conscious. "I've found that it is possible to run a business from a socially conscious, ethical standpoint and I love knowing that it has influenced people to take trips they never would have before," he says.
PDX Magazine - April, 2007 - by Travis Greenwood
Hot Kuppa Heaven - Sitting around Portland's coffee houses
Seemingly located on every corner, coffeeshops are a dime-a-dozen here in Portland. Look past the clutter of chains like Starbucks, though, and you'll discover several java-centric local businesses working hard to elevate your morning cup of joe from an everyday staple to a delicious art form, complete with its own means of production and specialized vocabulary ("the beans, the grind, the machine, the hands"). We've compiled a list of Puddletown's best mom-and-pop coffeehouses, based on recommendations from friends and readers. It is by no means a complete or exhaustive round-up, but we found a balance between the better-known spots and the secret gems.
Image Part restaurant and part coffeehouse, Costello's Travel Caffé exudes an air of casual, European-styled elegance. From the décor to the menu, everything here conspires to transport you to a foreign place. (The most obvious manifestation of this includes two flat-screen televisions that show looped videos-shot by the establishment's owners-that capture the energy and excitement of traveling through various cities and locales around the world.) The beverage menu includes a long list of coffee drinks, juices, beers and wines (most originating from Europe); while inexpensive eats run from tasty salads and sandwiches, to homemade quiches and desserts. Costello's also hosts a number of events—foreign language nights, film screenings and soccer games—that reinforce its European character.
The java's jiving all over town and it's not a surprise. Portlanders know their beans almost as well as they know their brews. Whether it's a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon delight, there's a coffeehouse around the corner to suit your taste, and depending on the neighborhood, there's probably two.
The Portland Tribune - August 26, 2006 - by Liz Colie Gadberry
Sticking to the 'hood lets you eat local ... very local
Most of us have a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Sometimes the reason for liking it is simply its convenience, or perhaps the servers remember us and treat us like regulars (we love that); maybe we'll see people we know there; or it's a place where we feel comfortable lingering long after the plates are cleared.
As long as we're on Broadway, let's walk three blocks east to a different pleasant neighborhood spot called Costello's Travel Caffé, a coffeehouse and eatery that opened in 2004. To be honest, I was skeptical about it at first.
I've been bored almost to tears by many a friend's slide show of a trip to Greece or Italy, so I assumed the two big screens constantly showing videos of images from different countries at Costello's would bring back bad memories.
But Costello's windows on the world aren't boring at all; in fact they're rather mesmerizing. And if looking at visions of other countries only depresses you because you can't afford to go there, don't worry. The screens are easy to ignore.
Serving Caffe Umbria coffee and wonderful pastries and savory treats made daily... Costello's is a great neighborhood hangout. The cafe's regular foreign-language conversation nights appeal to a broad range of Portlanders from beginning language students to expatriates looking for friends from home.
A Girl's Guide to City Life - December 19, 2005 - by Amanda Ford
Costello's Travel Caffé
The day I stumped across Costello's, the cafe's two flat screen televisions where displaying scenes from Spain which put a smile on my face because just that morning I met a man from Sevilla who gave me his business card and begged me to keep in touch. He promised he would teach me Spanish and take me on a guided tour of his native country. "You shall never meet a man as romantic as me," he proclaimed, "and I shall never meet a woman as beautiful as you." So you can understand why I couldn't help but interpret my discovery of this cozy cafe and those images of Barcelona, Madrid and Cordoba as more than mere coincidence.
Self-described as neither a coffee shop or a restaurant, Costello's lives up to its proclamation as being the perfect blend of each. The food is outstanding compared to typical coffeehouse fare made onsite with fresh, local ingredients. Choose from soups, salads, sandwiches, beer, wine, and of course coffee, teas, and desserts. In addition to the televisions showing scenes from around the world, the cafe boasts a selection of travel books as well as a delightful collection mix-matched wooden tables and chairs that invite you to linger as long as you please. Costello's offers special events such as weekly foreign language conversation, international soccer games, live music, and foreign films.
I will definitely drop in for the next Spanish conversation night just in case I get the urge to dash away with my new Spanish friend. Si! Si! Maravilloso!
The Oregonian - September 2, 2005 - by Christina Melander
Cheap Eats - Costello's Travel Caffé
Foreign auto tags dot the walls and a row of four clocks shows local time as well as readouts for Moscow, Tokyo and Rome, but it's the crowds who gather for satellite soccer broadcasts that reveal Costello's as a home for those who like to wander. On days when soccer sleeps, the flat-screen TVs play a silent reel of vivid video postcards and, naturally, foreign films on Friday nights.
The chow: While the mood at Costello's does much to transport you to faraway climes, the food makes you want to stick around. Sure, there are ubiquitous panini, but this is no run-of-the-mill coffee shop fare. In the morning, substantial breakfast burritos and egg-and-cheese sandwiches augment an impressive lineup of homemade muffins, scones and breads (plus Belgian waffles on the weekends). Midday brings comforting grilled sannies and main dish-sized salads -- and this is the rare Portland coffeehouse that also serves savory dishes into the evening, adding a trio of pastas after 6 p.m. Seek out the salad of tender chicken breast strips, tiny blue cheese crumbles, chopped toasted hazelnuts and chunks of crisp apple tossed with romaine .
Real deals: Hefty slices of quiche go for just $3.95, while half a panino with side salad rings in at $4.75.
Hangout factor: Outfitted with handsome, creaky wooden chairs with leather seats, a low-slung sofa in the living room area and amber lighting, Costello's is almost too good of a hangout: a discreet sign near the cashier asks endurance Wi-Fiers to surrender their seats if needed during peak hours.
Liquids: Definitely order the tangy and tropical passion fruit lemonade when available -- but if you miss it, take heart in a draught Guinness. Several other beers and wines are available by the bottle and glass, plus Numi teas (and, of course, coffee).
What's half-baked: The Wi-Fi receiver is touchy and you often have to ask the staff to reboot it.
Inside tips: Homemade desserts such as chocolate mousse, key lime pie, mountain berry tarts and cheesecake beckon from the display case, but don't overlook the fantastic icebox cookies dispensed from jars next to the register.
Oregon.com - by Laura Schulte
Costello's Travel Caffé
Next make your way across the river to Costello's Travel Caffe at 2222 NE Broadway. This fresh coffeehouse concept will have you recalling that afternoon years ago in ... hmm ... where was that now - Paris, Vienna, Glasgow, Buenos Aries? While the warm decor and international knickknacks create that an old-world feeling, two flat screen televisions definitely let you know you are someplace completely new.
Carrying video images of some of the most intriguing destinations around the globe, the screens provide windows to the world to inspire your daydreams. Sunday soccer match viewings, international film nights and foreign language conversation evenings sponsored by Costello's provide further access to cultures beyond our own.
The Portland Mercury - September 16, 2004 - by Michael Svoboda
Peer Into Costello's Windows to the World
There are not many spots in Portland where you can sip coffee and be standing on the corner of a busy Chinese intersection--but you can at Costello's Windows to the World. With two large flat screen TVs mounted on opposite walls, Costello's shows looped footage of urban and natural landscapes from all over the world. With the images set to soothing ambient beats with intermittent lapses into the natural soundscapes of the captured landscapes, Costello's scheme might sound gimmicky--but it also works.
In no small part, that's because these are actual home videos shot by members of the Costello family over a three-year period. Unlike your typical jittery, rambling tourist fare, Costello's videos are full of slice of life moments from side streets, main squares, and coastal lands from Europe, South America, East Asia, and North America.
On the food and drink front, Costello's serves Caffe Umbria coffee. Every time I've ordered a drink there, it's consistently one of the better cups of joe I've had in Portland. All their pastries are made in-house from scratch, with the strawberry scone and lemon blueberry muffin always delicate, moist, and full of flavor, obviously baked that morning.
My favorite of the restaurant's sturdy breakfast fare is the veggie breakfast sandwich, made up of scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese, fresh spinach leaves, and tomato layered on a warm, flaky butter croissant. The quiche of the day is also a winner, with rotating ingredients (usually vegetarian) served a la carte or with a salad or cup of homemade soup--like a delicious, hearty, and creamy potato leek. Also don't miss the big, crisp, and steaming Belgian waffles, served up only on the weekends with syrup or strawberries and whipped cream.
For the lunch crowd, the oversized (that's a good thing) grilled panini is crispy hot with mouth-watering fillings. They offer five kinds served on Pearl Bakery bread, all of which tie into the travel theme: Edinburgh (Blackforest ham, provolone, roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts), Barcelona (baked chicken breast, pesto, provolone, and tomato) or my favorite, the vegan Athenian (housemade hummus, cucumber, olive tapenade, red onion, and tomato), and all served with salad. Also on the menu are cold sandwiches with names like Big Ben, and the classic Baguette Sandwich: cheese, tomato, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. If you're looking for something heavier, try the vegetable lasagna, a saucy, cheesy hunk of Italian love, full of herbs and tons of fresh vegetables.
Costello's is open until 10 pm most days and serves wine and beer. My one complaint about the place is their lackluster selection of foreign beer. Only one of the three taps has a brew from another country--and it's the delicious, but predictable, Guinness. The bottled offerings could also use a bit more worldliness.
Costello's offers free wi-fi and shows foreign films every Friday night at 8 pm... ...It's hard to imagine a better setting for sipping beer or coffee and whiling away a few rainy hours come fall. For anyone who fancies themselves a world traveler, this is the place to reminisce about that little café in Prague, or that time in Paris, with... what was his name again? Oh, yes... Jean Luc!
Willamette Week - June 23, 2004 - by Kelly Clarke
Once the temperature leaps above 75 degrees, thawing Bite Club's usually icy, Northwestern heart, we immediately start thinking of one thing: vacation. But since playing hooky from dear WW means no more free food, Bite Club settles for finding working mini-escapes all around town. And we're off.
When we need adventure on the scale of Around the World in 80 Days, we head to Costello's Travel Caffe. OK, you don't really travel anywhere, but still you're transported from the sunflower-colored belly of this Northeast Broadway coffee-and-panini shop to Europe, China and South America thanks to two flat-screen TVs.
Worlds collided one morning last week, as the Bite Club watched a gaggle of business types at a strategy meeting gobble up croissants topped with mountains of scrambled eggs, cheddar and turkey. We stayed nestled in the corner of Costello's weathered leather couch, and instead of crunching numbers on laptops, munched one of Costello's crumbly lemon poppyseed scones, while viewing televised scenes of Trafalgar Square. Now that's traveling in style.
The Oregonian - January 26, 2004 - by Jonathan Nicholas
If you feel like lightening up one of these murky cloud-stained afternoons, you could slip away to Tuscany.
Or to 2222 N.E. Broadway.
Costello's Travel Caffe opened the other day featuring what can now be regarded as a classic Northwest menu: everything from Italian cappuccino through Thai soup to Oregon ale. All accompanied by those home movies, cleverly displayed on flat screens, windows on the world.