Aug 6, 2019
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SOMERSWORTH, N.H. —
One of the newest and hottest locations on the first-in-the-nation campaign trail has hosted half the Democratic primary field this season.
The Teatotaller Café in Somersworth calls itself “an oasis of queer, hipster, tea, coffee and pastry goodness.”
“I think people have just been attracted to how this very colorful, flavorful café in the smallest city in New Hampshire can exist and can thrive,” said proprietor Emmett Soldati.
Soldati said he wanted to provide a place for people to be comfortable and engage with new ideas. He said he never expected to create a hot spot for Democrats seeking the White House in 2020.
The historical gold standard of New Hampshire primary locations is Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett. Soldati said he didn’t set out to be a modern-day Lloyd Robie, but the Teatotaller is doing for Democrats now what the old New England gathering space did for so many candidates in years past: providing an ideal setting for their message.
“Somersworth is at a unique position in its own life history of having this revitalization, and I think that reflects a lot of what the Democratic Party is trying to do on a national stage,” Soldati said. “Like, how did we lose this many votes to economic disenfranchisement in 2016?”
By the end of the year, the primary will intensify and grow beyond the capacity of Teatoaller’s colorful walls, but the conversations started there might move to a bigger venue.
“Fortunately, we’re opening up a second location in Concord, so now everybody’s saying, ‘You’ve got to open before the primary to get folks in there,” Soldati said.