For many college students, the start of a new day means one thing: a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Located at the intersection of Chestnut Hill Ave. and Embassy Rd., Fuel America enjoys a special connection with Boston College students, as its welcoming ambiance, plentiful options, and distinct decor keeps students walking through its doors.
The coffee shop is the brainchild of Jeff Bonesia—one of its managing partners—and opened its doors in 2011. It identifies itself as a “new kind of American coffeehouse … inspired by America’s can-do attitude.”
“We are here to ignite your journey,” says Fuel’s website.
Coffee has been a recurring theme throughout Bonesia’s life, as he worked at various companies such as Burger King, Green Mountain Coffee, and Dunkin’ Donuts. After a career in advertising, he finally had the opportunity to realize one of his dreams to establish a coffee joint with its own distinct character—a place where individuals could go and enjoy themselves and want to return. As such, Fuel America was born.
Alongside its coffee menu, Fuel offers an array of foods that range from sandwiches and salads to pies and smoothies. “We wanted to offer fresh food, real food,” Bonesia said. “We get many organic foods from neighboring towns.”
The coffee shop features a different atmosphere from many other local competitors.
“People and students come and spend their entire day here,” said Gabriel Ferreira, manager of Fuel. “They can relax and do their work. It is an experience that is unlike that of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts—we aim to celebrate the people.”
Since its opening, neighboring students at BC have been frequent customers at the coffee shop, especially since Fuel participated in many on-campus events, such as “Taste of Off-Campus” hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students in conjunction with the Office of Government and Community Affairs and the Office of Residential Life. According to BC’s website, the event offered students a chance to “receive free food and drinks, as well as great information about life off-campus.”
At the fair, Fuel gave students a tasting of the different sandwiches they offer as well as their coffee, which has its own particular “rustic” feel. Events such as these allow for Fuel to “get out into the community, meet new people, and see new faces,” according to Ferreira. “That way we can get our name out there, so people know who we are.”
Fuel’s success has extended beyond Brighton and Chestnut Hill. The coffee shop was voted “Best coffee house on the Boston side of the Charles” by The Boston Phoenix during its first year in business.
“One of the coolest things is the customer-staff interaction,” Ferreira said. “Here, we do not have a business-like vibe, but one of friendship. We tell new hires to not only do their job well, but to be friendly to the costumers. To show them that you care.”
Bonesia and Ferreira attribute much of Fuel’s success to its ambiance, which draws its inspiration from “America of old.” Countless framed pictures adorn the walls of the establishment, among them great individuals such as Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan.
“We try to emulate the innovation and exploration of those times,” Bonesia said. “To older people it will feel nostalgic to revisit that era and to the younger audience it will serve as a reminder of what the country is capable of.”
Within the next year, the establishment is aiming to expand, a second location currently in the works at Logan Airport. Additionally, after catering to the company, New Balance has begun talks with Fuel about placing a location inside of their new headquarters.
When asked to describe what Fuel America means to him, Ferreira talks big. “We fuel America,” he said.
Featured Images by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor