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Tuscan Market To Replace Iconic Portsmouth Coffeehouse


The Portsmouth coffeehouse Breaking New Grounds is closing its doors after January 3.

On Friday, owner Matt Govoni announced on Facebook that he and his wife were selling the coffeehouse 25 years after they moved to Portsmouth to start it.

The prime Market Square spot will soon be under the ownership of Salem-based Tuscan Brands, which plans to turn it into an Italian cafe and market.

More than 600 customers - and counting - have responded to Govoni's post, remembering everything from the German Butter Cake to falling in love over coffee.

One of them, Dan Boardman, wrote that the cafe was a lifesaver for locals before and after Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

"If I ever was having a tough time, I knew I could go down to BNG, around 6 o'clock on a Tuesday for example, and I would run in to a fellow recovering alcoholic or addict and we could chat," he wrote.

"Over time, it ended up being literally one of the most important buildings in my life," Boardman says.

Govoni says the coffeehouse was a gathering place for locals of all ages and backgrounds.

"We've had tons of marriage proposals," he remembers. "We've even had someone get married outside of the store. I just enjoy parents coming in here with their children and watching the kids grow up over the years; that's probably been my favorite part."

Breaking New Grounds' location in Durham will remain open.

As for his future plans, Govoni says "Let's just say I'm between ventures. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I'm going to do something."