Want a latte with your vaccine? Sleek cafe, medical practice pair up

If you miss the entrance to the Premier Cafe in Wellington, don’t worry: You can enter through the Wellness Center. Or Urgent Care.

You’ll be directed past trademarked supplement blends and a cryo-stimulation chamber, through rooms decorated in warm colors with dark granite counter-tops, to a space unlike anything else you’ve likely seen before.

The cafe is the latest offering from Premier Family Health, a holistic practice offering a variety of medical services that include cappuccinos and pastries along with vaccines, dentistry and acupuncture.

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Dr. Vincent Apicella and Dr. Mariaclara Bago, a couple who live in Wellington, run Premier Wellness and said opening a cafe was the next logical step as they seek to treat the patient.

“In our vision of creating an extraordinary sense of well-being, this was just one of those things that to us it was an extension of that corporate vision and mission,” Dr. Apicella said.

The inspiration for the cafe came from a trip to Spain the couple took last year to celebrate the practice’s 10th anniversary. There, they drank “real coffee” and got a taste of the community-focused culture surrounding the caffeinated beverage, Dr. Bago said.

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“In Spain you’d have your cafe con leche and you’d be out on a patio, you’d be overlooking the mountains, spending time with family and friends,” she said, adding that in the U.S., people are more focused on just getting their coffee and getting on to the next task. “We wanted to bring the concept of, ‘You know what, come here. Have some coffee. Disconnect from everything and just enjoy where you are,’” she said.

The European inspiration is felt from the moment you walk into Premier Cafe. A faux-brick floor looks slick with rain, while overhead a PVC ceiling gives the appearance of sitting under a blue sky dotted with clouds as leafy trees bend into view. The ceiling flexes as the A/C turns on, giving the unintended effect of branches swaying in the wind.

On a long, wood community table, coffee-related health facts are presented to diners with QR codes that, once scanned, lead to articles with more information on coffee and Alzheimer’s, coffee and diabetes, coffee and cancer.

What started with a vision for a small coffee cart bloomed into a full-service cafe that offers pastries and salads, all made without preservatives. The doctors’ 14-year-old daughter Mikayla lends her own touch to the menu, baking gluten-free items.

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Since opening in 2006, Premier Family Health has grown to include more than 17,000 square feet of space on two floors in the northern office tower in the Wellington Reserve complex on State Road 7. The first floor houses Premier’s Urgent Care and Wellness Centers, in-house lab, cryo-therapy chamber and now cafe. The building’s second floor is home to Premier’s family practice and dentistry office, which is helmed by Dr. Apicella’s brother, Anthony.

“I like to joke that we literally put the family in ‘family practice,’ because we do,” said Ryan Mackman, Dr. Apicella’s business administrator, project manager and Premier Cafe’s new manager.

That family feel extends to the coffee brewed in the Premier Cafe: Drs. Apicella and Bago decided to go with Miami-based Panther Coffee after meeting with the husband-and-wife team that runs the popular bean brand.

And while you can find drip coffees and lattes on Premier’s menu, you also can find Mackman’s favorite menu item: nitro cold brew. The nitrogen-infused cold coffee is served in a small cup, but packing a wallop with 300 mg of caffeine.

“It hits you like a ton of bricks,” Mackman said, laughing. “It’s wake-up juice.”

The cafe already has drawn a following among locals. That includes Wellington resident Rob Van Winkle, better known as rapper Vanilla Ice.

The pop culture icon stopped in for a coffee recently, and Premier Cafe’s staff was quick to snap a photo of the star holding a bottle of vanilla syrup and post it to the cafe’s Instagram account. “What does @vanillaiceofficial ask for when he comes in?” the photo’s caption reads. “I don’t even know why we bother asking.”

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