I’ve always preferred Caribou Coffee over Starbucks. It just feels, I don’t know, the less corporate chain-ish of the two. Its shops are cozier (the fireplaces!) So I was sad when the Caribou in downtown Royal Oak closed a few years ago. It was a nice, spacious location.
BUT, there is another coffee shop in its place now – an independent, locally-owned one – and it’s great! Atomic Coffee. You may have seen its storefront with the cartoonishly large mug on your strolls along Main Street. I’ve been there twice now, once in mid-October and again a month later, during the early evenings on Sundays. I had thought the place would’ve started to clear out during that time period (Sunday dinners? Evening football broadcasts? Anyone?) but that was not the case. It was jammed-packed on both occasions, and only by the grace of God and some really astute scouting was I both times able to pounce on newly evacuated tables. I’ve never seen a coffee shop full of so many young people eager to study at once! Because yeah, the demographic is for the most part young and hip-looking, which is pretty much what you’d expect given the ambiance. Atomic Coffee is all white and sleek and modern – and hey, there’s the old Caribou fireplace with a blaze going over there! But it didn’t feel annoyingly over-pretentious to me. It has a good vibe. It’s a comfortable, homey place to get stuff done, when you don’t feel motivated to get that stuff done at home (because we all know we’ve been there!).
Not gonna lie, I haven’t actually had its coffee yet. I know, sacrilege! But I did visit on Sunday evenings – didn’t want to be rolling around in my bed wide awake until four in the morning afterwards. I had sparkling water the first time I was there and a very lovely tea latte and a Voss bottled water the second time. The reviews on Yelp do seem overwhelmingly positive regarding the coffee. Prices are on the higher side but are nothing out of the ordinary for a nicer independent coffee shop, and it’s good, quality stuff you are getting. Not only is there an extensive coffee and tea menu, but Atomic Coffee also offers raw juices and an impressive food menu, including sandwiches, salads, and breakfast items such as quiche and vegetable croissants.
So, in short, Atomic Coffee is pretty much awesome, and you should pretty much go there the next time you can’t stand being in your house anymore.
401 S. Main St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067