There has been a bright spot for the union nurses and technologists who were part of the strike at Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s Hospitals. It sits right behind Women and Infants Hospital; that bright spot is Amore Espresso Gelato Bar.
I received a message from unionized CT Technologist Keith, and he urged me to cover Amore because of how well they treated him and his co-workers during the strike. “So as I am walking the streets of Providence with some of the most amazing individuals, some of whom have saved my life,” Keith explained. “We realize that we would rather work a 12-hour shift than march for four. Several of my co-workers and I decide to take a quick detour to grab some food and more importantly stop at a bathroom. California Taco Shop allowed the union to setup port-a-johns in the parking lot so we started heading there. However, one of my all-time favorite nurses pointed us in the direction of Amore on Pearl St. We walk in to this beautiful little cafe, not at all what we would have guessed from the outside, where they have some mellow classical/opera music playing. They have an impressive selection of gelato, a small menu of appetizing panini, and an excellent choice of espresso coffee drinks. The staff behind the counter greets us with huge smiles and pro-union supportive small talk. We notice several of our union brothers and sisters already sitting at some tables. When we first walk in, it’s about 10 minutes before they close. We all expected to be served in to-go cups, and were surprised when we were told to grab a seat and relax. They were kind enough to stay open well after their normal closing time; we left at about 9:20 and there were people still walking in the door.”
I stopped in at the gelato bar and Keith had described it perfectly. I talked to manager Amanda Scales, and she filled me in on Amore Espresso Gelato Bar. “We’re a big part of the community at the hospital. A lot of our customers come over and they love it here. We’re happy to help,” Scales smiled as she talked.
Keith’s experience during the strike absolutely reflected that attitude. “We [the unionized employees] visited on all our ‘shifts’ and each time we were greeted by name, and they remembered our orders as if we were regulars. We were Norm, they were our Cheers!”
On top of gelato, panini and coffee, Amore also serves cold sandwiches, desserts and alcoholic beverages. It’s a perfect catch-all for people visiting and working at the hospitals in Providence.
“Some people come in looking for gelato, some people come in looking for a sandwich, or sometimes it’s just a new dad who wants to come here to celebrate,” Scales spoke over her shoulder as she scooped gelato for an unusually tall customer. “All of the gelato is homemade, we use all-natural ingredients. All of our food is made-to-order, so no matter what you’re looking for, we have something for you.”
She continued, “Both owners of the cafe are members of the medical community around the hospital and heard that the strike was happening. They wanted to help support a part of the local community that helps and supports us as a local business. We opened our doors and gave people a place to unwind and recharge. We received a wave of gratitude from everyone who came in the store.”
Keith wanted to make it clear why he reached out to me, “I am thankful to everyone who found a moment to support this strike. My personal experience with Amore was just so moving, that they took the moment to remember us and support us, I feel that I have to return the favor. Pay it forward as it were.”
Read Keith’s full statement here: motifri.com/keithstatement