Jen Schreiber said working as a barista is like being a bartender, but without the alcohol.

"I can tell you the first 50 people who come in the morning," she said. "I know what they're getting."

The co-owner of Green Bean Roasting Co. and her business partner and best friend, Vanessa DeLisio, have known some of their customers for years, despite being open just 10 months.

Before opening Green Bean, they worked at the former coffeehouse Sparky & Clark's on West Market Street for more than five years.

Schreiber, 27, said the owner abruptly told them in August 2009 that the store would be closing and that would be their last day. She said she and DeLisio were crushed.

So they opened Sparky & Clark's the next day, anyway, to personally inform their customers.

"We didn't want to put a (closed) sign on the door," Schreiber said. "We knew we wanted to stay in the business."

They told their customers that they wanted to open their own café. Schreiber said they collected about 120 email addresses and let their patrons know the progress of their new business.

By September 2010, they signed contracts for the Beaver Street building, and they opened in January.

I stopped by on a recent Monday afternoon for some coffee and a quick bite. I ordered a small nonfat latte and a mesquite turkey and provolone panini.

Green Bean offers light fare, such as bagels, muffins, cookies, and homemade soups and paninis - which change throughout the week. Soups include basil and tomato bisque, crab and corn, and Italian wedding.

Using a press, DeLisio, 27, toasted the flat bread sandwich, which came with tomato and a dressing. I asked for Dijon mustard. The sandwich and the coffee tasted fresh. Not surprising: They roast their own beans. Overall, it was a satisfying lunch.

I hung out for a while as I ate, taking in the atmosphere of lime green walls and sparsely placed artwork. Brown-and-white zebra print chairs, brown sofa and small tables create a cozy place to chill. Schreiber calls it "eco-chic.

Joan Wright of Philadelphia takes advantage of the Green Bean Roasting Co. s wireless Internet during a recent visit.
Joan Wright of Philadelphia takes advantage of the Green Bean Roasting Co. s wireless Internet during a recent visit. (FLIPSIDE -- JASON PLOTKIN)
" Green Bean uses recycled and biodegradable paper and cleaning products.

DeLisio waited on several customers while I was there. One woman asked DeLisio if she was ready for the next day - Green Bean was chosen as Mayor Kim Bracey's Merchant of the Month. Two 20-somethings who seemed like students stopped by. She asked them about fall break. An older woman bought a pound of coffee and asked if she got the last of the beans.

"We're roasting tonight," DeLisio said.

Schreiber said the Green Bean is doing well in its first year of business and that the shop recently had its busiest three weeks yet.

She said she wanted their business to mirror a place where she'd like to hang out.

"I will always keep going back to a place where I feel welcomed," she said.

So will most customers.

Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants, aiming to please our palates and our wallets. Reach Leigh Zaleski at 771-2101, lzaleski@ydr.com.

If you go

LOCATION: Green Bean Roasting Co., 100 S. Beaver St. in York

CUISINE: Light fare

LEIGH'S PICK: Mesquite turkey and provolone panini and a nonfat vanilla latte ($10.34)

PARKING: Street

HOURS: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

PRICE RANGE: $1.50 to $6.25

ALCOHOL: No

SMOKING: No

ACCEPTS: Cash, Visa and MasterCard

TAKEOUT: Yes

KID'S MENU: No

DETAILS: Visit www.greenbeanroasting.com or call 848-4070