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More than a Cup of Coffee

Celebrating the Arts in Downtown Somerville

At the ripe age of 21, Steven “Cheech” Chiocchi, President of Cheech’s Own Coffee Company, launched a highly successful mobile application, giving him a taste for being an entrepreneur. It didn’t take long for him to realize that entrepreneurship was in his blood. 

Always a coffee enthusiast, Cheech enjoyed bottling organic cold-brew coffee in mason jars in his kitchen. He started sharing his coffee creations with his friends, and one asked him to sell the coffee at his upcoming beer festival. Cheech partnered with a culinary kitchen in Somerville and used their commercial space to brew large batches of coffee in the evenings. For the next two years, he sold one product—the organic concentrate—at festivals and farmers markets.  

Last year, Cheech welcomed an investor and opened up a cafe in Somerville.

“Instead of just serving cold-brew, we basically took everything that we did with coffee and molded it into one concept.”

The cafe is a social atmosphere that serves 100% organic coffee and a wide variety of vegan and gluten-free baked goods.

“People care more and more about what goes into their bodies. They want quality over quantity.”

Cheech noticed that many local businesses were volume-driven and embraced table turnover.

“Businesses don’t want you to stay for long, so they make the seating uncomfortable and don’t provide community meeting spaces.”

When Cheech was designing the cafe, he decided to build the first stage in Somerville. So not only is Cheech’s Own a spot to grab a delicious vegan treat with a cup of fresh-brewed organic coffee, but it is also a place to socialize and enjoy a show.

The stage at Cheech’s Own quickly became the entertainment epicenter of Somerville.

“We built a formal venue stage in the cafe that we fill with local acts. One of our first recurring events was our poetry night with Chelsea Nichols.”

They host a comedy night on the second Friday of each month, with comedians traveling from all over the tri-state area to perform. Recently they had a cappella group Musae perform a 90-minute set to a standing-room-only crowd. 

Not every event is arts-related through. For example, they welcomed Congressman Tom Malinowski to speak to patrons about important local issues. 

Four years ago, Cheech took a risk by leaving the booming app industry to pursue his passion for coffee. But by doing so, he has brought a remarkable experience to downtown Somerville. Not only has he opened the doors of Cheech’s Own for people to enjoy an amazing cup of coffee and health-minded snack, but he has also created a venue to entertain and engage the local community. 

Cheech’s Own 
37 W. Main St., Somerville

“People care more and more about what goes into their bodies. They want quality over quantity.”

—Cheech

“We built a formal venue stage in the café, that we fill with local acts.”

—Cheech

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