Husband-and-wife duo Torre and Karen DeVito first met in a coffee house nearly 40 years ago. In 2019, the DeVitos purchased the former Kai’s Koffee space and transformed it into Buck Creek Coffee and Smoothies. They say that together, building their business has been a labor of love. Here, Torre gives an insider scoop on the business’ founding, menu items and appreciation for the community’s support.

Tell our readers about the founding of Buck Creek Coffee and Smoothies.

In 2019 when Kai’s Koffee closed, my wife, Karen DeVito, envisioned a cozy haven for Alabaster, Pelham and Helena. She told me about it, and we prayed about it. Then, Karen swiftly turned the opportunity into reality. She had all her licenses and a lease, and we purchased Kai’s Koffee’s equipment within seven business days. I had recently started the Buck Creek Poets and Writers Group, so we picked Buck Creek Coffee as our name. On the morning that we opened, my Bible reading was Psalm 42:1 which can be paraphrased to say, “As the buck thirsts for the clear running creek, so my heart thirsts for you, oh Lord.” We consider this a strong confirmation of our choice.

What on the menu makes this business stand out from other similar ones in the area?

We have some unique signature drinks such as the Bama Brule and the Tiger Dulce. Folks also love our hot ham and cheese on a flaky, buttery croissant or our chicken salad with cran-raisins and pecans on an everything bagel. To tell you the truth, what sets Buck Creek apart from other coffee houses in the area is Karen. She has a heart for this community and other entrepreneurs, and our guests are not customers to her–they are all neighbors and friends. The rest of our Buck Creek family picks that up and emulates it. That’s why we say, “At Buck Creek Coffee, you are more than just a name on a cup.”

What is your favorite item on the menu and why?

I’m a bit of a coffee snob, so I think my pick would be either an espresso doppio or an americano. Why? Because when our coffee hits your cup, that same coffee has been ground within the hour, roasted within the week and picked this past-growing season.

What should newcomers try first, and what is a classic, fan favorite?

I would suggest the hot honey latte that we call the “Bee Sting.” It’s not too spicy, but the jalapeno juice gives it a nice, warm afterburn. As for the classic fan favorite, that would be the Bama Brule. It’s a mocha with white chocolate and caramel sauce. Although, our turtle creek mocha with dark chocolate and caramel sauce is a strong contender, too.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I am pretty sure Karen would say it’s the people–meeting and serving new people and developing long-term friends. My favorite part is how the business is an outlet for my creativity. However, for both Karen and myself, it is a way to give back to our community. For instance, Moore Prayer Life Church meets in our shop every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for a Bible study and every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for church.

Buck Creek Coffee and Smoothies is open Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Sunday, 8:30-10:30 a.m. It is located at 2947 Pelham Parkway. For more information or to order, visit