|Alex Clark and Aaron Hagegorn of New York's Ost Café. Photo: Erin Meister
Sometimes it seems like owning a coffee shop is on everybody's bucket list: Travel around the world, write the great American novel, retire and open a top-notch café. Last year, Alex Clark, 26, and Aaron Hagedorn, 33, checked that last one off, abandoning their steady (if somewhat boring) financial-sector 9-to-5s in midtown Manhattan for predawn mornings and late, overcaffeinated nights helming Ost Café in Gotham's Alphabet City neighborhood.
The friends traded in their office desks for Ost's beautiful corner location in an ever up-and-coming part of town -- complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of sunlight -- in order to live the proverbial dream as small-business owners... but do they think it was worth it? Leave it to the CoffeeMeister to find out.