UConn Magazine: Coffee and Cubanos

Breno Donatti ’14 (BGS) found a way to feed his neighbors and boost his restaurant business.

Donatti at Winfield Street Coffee next to Ferguson Library

Donatti at Winfield Street Coffee next to Ferguson Library, just down the street from UConn Stamford. (Peter Morenus / UConn Photo)

Breno Donatti ’14 (BGS) met his wife, Jeanette, 11 years ago in a UConn-style meet-cute — they were both grabbing coffee in the Starbucks in Ferguson Library. Lucky thing, too, because back then Donatti barely had time to look up from his books; he was carrying a full load of courses at UConn Stamford while also running a farm-to-table restaurant. “I felt a bit like Superman,” he says.

Donatti’s love for the restaurant industry — everything from fine dining to beach shacks — is part of the reason he ended up at UConn. “When I moved to the U.S. from Brazil at age 18, I began working in a pizza place in Greenwich, and I loved the pace. It’s never stopping.” But it turned out Donatti was not actually Superman, and full-time school mixed with full-time work proved just a little too much. “It was the first time I had to withdraw from a course in my life,” Donatti says, “and also my first realization that I can’t do everything.” Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to sharpen your focus on the things that matter. That day in the library, Donatti focused on Jeannette.

Read on for more.