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Light streams through the windows as the espresso machine roars; a gorgeous, rich scent fills the air; and witty conversation unspools over the porcelain cups.

That's the café dream. Mark and Nina are about to experience the reality. Determined to re-create the perfect Viennese coffeehouse, they descend on New York's gritty but hip Lower East Side to educate the locals on authentic café culture. Soon Mark and Nina are in a downward spiral that will strip them of money, friends, sex life, status, shelter, and, finally, sanity—and offer salvation through something they have never experienced: disaster.

Inspired by the author's own coffeehouse hell, Ground Up is a sharp and funny portrait of a New York constantly reinventing itself, and a surprisingly tender story of falling out of love and back in it again.

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