Casey Gallas

Madeline Gray

“I don’t necessarily know what everyone does or even their names, but I recognize them, and that makes you feel part of a community.”
—Casey Gallas, barista, lucettegrace

Some might say that Casey Gallas is a jack of all trades. He’s not only a friendly face behind the counter in the morning at lucettegrace patisserie downtown, he’s also a singer in The 919 Band, performing at events and weddings locally. Oh, and he’s a cast member of STEM the Musical, a local educational program for grades K-8. But to him, he’s just “slinging coffee” and providing delicious treats to Raleighites. His almost two-year gig at lucettegrace began with an Instagram job posting, and Gallas says he’s grateful to be in the thick of the action as downtown has evolved the past few years. Along the way, he’s come to believe in the power of pastry. “These are the people here every day and we get to offer that little piece of delicious for them. … You only get so many chances to eat during life, why waste it?”

His personal favorite treat is hard to pin down. “People ask me my favorite thing to eat at lucettegrace 30 times a day and it always changes.” Right now, it’s the ham-and-cheese croissant with a cup of soup, he says. You can catch him behind the coffee bar most mornings, and he says he loves the flow of professionals stopping in for their regular coffee or croissant. “In the morning, it feels like the genuine working lifeblood of the city.”

Gallas considers lucettegrace his side work, meant to supplement the music and the education, but it’s come to be a meaningful, rewarding part of his days, he says. From his side of the counter, Gallas observes important community moments: job interviews, first dates, team meetings. “We’re much more than baristas or pastry ambassadors. We’re weaving into this fabric of life downtown.” —Catherine Currin