ADVERTISEMENT

Lions Den Coffee Shop is opening a second CT location in Simsbury

Lions Den Coffee Shop, an Italian-style coffee shop in Southington aimed at law enforcement, opened its second Connecticut location in Simsbury on Monday.

The cafe offers paninis, European and American pastries, smoothies and coffee drinks featuring a variety of flavors from different countries, including Caramel Biscotti Latte and Mexican Mocha Latte.

Owners Vincenzo Infante, a retired Bristol police officer, and his wife Anissa Infante, whom he met at a cafe where he worked, opened the Lions Den in November 2020.

Vincenzo Infante’s family is Sicilian. His wife moved from Albania when he was 12 years old. Infante said he wanted to open a business centered around one of the foundations of southern Italian culture: great espresso. But he couldn’t find a shop nearby that had the same quality or style of espresso as he would in Italy. Opening a coffee shop is a potential retirement plan, he said.
“It’s just one of those things that brings the community together,” he said. “In Italian culture, as well as in Albanian culture, you go out for nightlife, sit in a cafe, talk with friends, family and enjoy the night.”

The store quickly gained traction and they decided to expand to several locations.

“It’s just a time of growth,” he said. “I’ve always had a very aggressive business plan from the beginning.”
Infante’s held an open house in Simsbury on Friday, where a black and white portrait of the lion that symbolizes the cafe’s name hangs on the wall behind four armchairs. Another lion’s head, stylized like the police badge in the store’s logo, appears on mugs and merchandise. The two locations have similar menus and a similar atmosphere, with Italian music playing in the background, Infante said. He added that the grand opening is planned for February.

The owners also plan to franchise the Lions Den Coffee brand to bring their coffee to more customers. Infante’s roaster, Saccuzzo Coffee Co. in Newington, is also run by an Italian family.
“They just have a mindset. “Even though I’m not family to them, they still treat me that way.”
As a retired member of the Bristol Police Department, Infante uses the cafe to express his gratitude to his former colleagues.

For National Police Week in May 2022, the owners have pledged to donate a portion of the sales of “Back the Blue” Lions Blend coffee bags to the Southington Police Department’s K-9 unit. Each location has Sgt. Alex Hamzy and Lt. Dustin DeMonte, two Bristol officers killed in the line of duty in October 2022.

Each Lions Den cafe has a memorial to Bristol Police Sgt. Alex Hamzy and Lt. Dustin DeMonti, who were killed in October 2022.

Contributed photo/Vincenzo Infante

ADVERTISEMENT

“Whether people come or work there, or friends or family come to hang out. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here for the community.”