Coffee Houses

246. Kahve Coffee – May 12, 2017 – Clawson, MI

20170512_185240 (3)I love a good independent coffee shop. There is something about being in public and yet in obscurity that I find incredibly appealing – the introvert in me loves that. A quality coffee shop offers respite from the world in the midst of a busy day, a hideaway to hole up and take care of business, a comfortable space to relax and get a caffeine fix between appointments. I love knowing there’s a solid coffee shop nearby to duck into when I need it.

After my recent visit to Kahve Coffee in downtown Clawson, I am adding it to my list of beloved independent coffee shops. I immediately dug its warm interior with colorful artwork posted on the walls, the friendly service, and my Earl Grey latte. The piece of baklava I chose from a selection of locally made baked goods was rich and flaky without being overly sweet – YUM. Baklava is one of those desserts I always forget about until I eat a piece and then am like HOW AM I EXISTING WITHOUT THIS IN MY LIFE EVERY DAY?

Another thing that makes Kahve stand out besides the fact that it serves stellar baklava is that included among its various delicious-sounding hot-beverage offerings is Turkish coffee – which I’ve never tried and would like to . . . hmmm. Perhaps I will get that during my next visit and be bouncing off the walls after drinking that strong, unfiltered brew (I’m a caffeine lightweight).

I expect to be back to Kahve and downtown Clawson soon because I’ve realized that the only other time I’ve highlighted a place in that city for this blog was all the way back when it started in 2014, with my visit to Vietnamese restaurant Da Nang (#26). And downtown Clawson is worth more than a once-every-three-years visit! There are several cool-looking restaurants down there that I can’t wait to check out.

22 S. Main St.

Clawson, MI 48017

224. Espresso Elevado – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

espressoelevado1espressoelevado2Coffee shops are some of my favorite places to hang out – especially independent ones. The well-known corporate chain shops just don’t exude the same character that the small, locally-owned ones do (while I do admittedly have a fondness for Tim Hortons –  their peppermint tea is stellar! – the ambiance is, well . . . that of an interior of a Tim Hortons). My friend who recently met me in downtown Plymouth loves coffee shops, as well, so we thought enjoying a hot beverage at Espresso Elevado before hitting the road would be a fitting way to cap off our visit.

The interior of this coffee shop is tiny; there are only a few tables to sit at, plus a pair of plush armchairs. But it’s cute and cozy and makes a mean cappuccino.

Espresso Elevado offers a variety of specialty coffee drinks and yummy-looking baked goods (including gluten-free ones). In studying its website, the emphasis on coffee brewing as a craft is apparent, as is the value given to fostering a workplace where all are recognized for their respective roles and talents (there are profiles on everyone from the founder to the creative director to the baristas). I like that about it. The place may be small, but it’s got big heart!

606 S. Main St.

Plymouth, MI 48170

www.espressoelevado.com

200. The Office Coffee Shop – October 13, 2016 – Royal Oak, MI

20161013_14512120161013_150412It’s a big one today, people! The 200th new place visited for 100 Places in the D!!!!!

During my first year of this blog, which ran from early February 2014 to early February 2015, I visited 102 new-to-me, locally-owned establishments. I marvel at this now, especially considering that I worked two jobs for half of that year, averaging 50-60 hours a week between the two of them and working seven days a week unless I took a vacation day. How the hell did I do it???

I’m proud that I accomplished my goal of visiting 100 new places in one year. It was the premise for this blog, of course! Post-achievement, I told myself that while I definitely wanted to keep moving forward with the blog, I did not need to hit 100 new places every blogging year. I envisioned a pace of about 60-75 new visits a year.

In Year Two, I hit a total of 61. My goal for Year Three is 65; I’m currently at 38 (this includes #201, which I’ll be writing about later in the week). That means I have 27 visits to go in less than four months, so I’d better get hustling! I don’t want to count too much on the potentially snowy months of December and January, so I’m looking to be especially intentional with my visits this November. I’m hoping to get further afield and hit more cities that I’ve never before covered on the blog, such as Wyandotte, Novi, and other places that are further afield for me as a Macomb County resident.

This blog and this habit I’ve formed of seeking out new-to-me places instead of visiting the same-ol’, same-ol’ corporate-chain ones all of the time have been so fulfilling to me. My world has expanded, and I’m not EVER going back to the old, small one where I repetitively made the rounds of B’Dubs and T.G.I. Friday’s and Boston’s. No thank you! OK, occasionally I still find myself at one of those places; they have their place in my world, and I’m not gonna be a total snob and refuse loved ones’ invitations to corporate chain restaurants or boycott my local Biggby when there are no independent coffee shops in my neighborhood (plus I still adore B’Dubs’ Spicy Garlic Sauce and feel a need to eat there at least once a year). The point is, I know now that there is so, so much more out there, more unique restaurants in the Tri-County area of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties than I will ever have time to get to – and new ones opening every month. Yay, Metro Detroit!!!! Yay to supporting local businesses!!!!

And yay to my 200th visit! It was nothing flashy, but it was lovely. I escaped work early on a sunshiny day last week and went to a place I’ve been wanting to check out for months and months and months, The Office Coffee Shop. It’s located in downtown Royal Oak, off of 4th Street on Lafayette Street (which is just beyond Washington Street if you’re coming from the direction of Main Street). I had an excellent cappuccino there with extra-extra foam, thanks to the great barista who waited on me. I sipped my cappuccino, wrote in my journal, and basked in the coffee-shop ambiance. I love coffee shops, and it had been a while since I’d visited one on my own and just sat there and wrote.

The Office has a very nice, homey vibe. There is plenty of natural light let in by the large-paned windows and plenty of seating options. I’m also intrigued by the driving concepts of this place. The owners of The Office, a husband-and-wife team, opened it with the dreams of 1) establishing a place that could be a co-working space for entrepreneurs and other professionals, offering them services that traditional coffee shops don’t, such as printer and fax machine access, conference room rentals, and mail shipping and receiving; and 2) operating a business that gives back. The Office accomplishes both, offering the aforementioned business-related services (plus several others) and giving 5% of the proceeds from each purchase to the customer’s charity of choice (the customer gets to choose from one of three featured; I chose for my donation to go to the Boys and Girls Club).

OK, the more I think about it, the more I am obsessed with this place! How excellent is this idea of marketing a coffee shop as a co-working space and offering these additional amenities? I need to get on with my dream of becoming an online entrepreneur so I can work there all of the time! And the charitable aspect is as smart as it is inspiring. Who doesn’t like to know that they are doing good while they are sitting and sipping a latte?

402 S Lafayette Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.theofficecoffeeshop.com

 

 

192. Ashe Supply Co. – September 29, 2016 – Detroit, MI

 

Hello, all! Happy Sunday! I hope you are keeping dry this weekend! Here in the D, it’s been raining buckets the last few days. I also hope none of you Metro-Detroiters were affected by all of the flooding shenanigans that occurred Thursday. Obvi, we need better storm drains in our freeway system here!

Funny thing about Thursday: my team at work had planned that day to go to an afternoon Tigers game. Yes, the soggiest possible home game of the season to attend – with that particular date having been my suggestion (Whoops!). What it translated to was a long lunch at beloved Detroit Beer Company (Black and White Bean Dip, holla!) plus strolling the Comerica Park concourses and streets of Detroit in the rain.

One of my coworkers is originally from up north and had only visited downtown a few times before, so she wanted to wander and explore. Bundled in my fairly rain-resistant sweatshirt and knit hat, I did not object. But slogging around in the rain is only charming for so long. When our little group decided to stop in to the little coffee shop we’d stumbled upon earlier on Broadway to take a respite from the dampness, I was thrilled. Warmth, and dryness, and a new place for 100 Places!

Ashe Supply Co. is exactly the coffee shop I wish existed in my neighborhood. If it did, I’d be working there all of the time. It’s clean and cozy and hipster-ish. There are various seating areas, including a small bar rail along the barista counter. And the music is at the perfect decibel level to ensure concentration.

In addition to its several varieties of coffee, Ashe sells wares from other area vendors, including baked goods from Sister Pie, who I could totally see as being the creators of the pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese icing that one of my coworkers ordered. I got a taste of that icing, and it was extraordinary! The company also peddles artwork from local creatives, Detroit-themed clothing, and coffee- and tea-related accessories.

And what did I order during my visit to Ashe? I decided on a mint tea, which was the perfect antidote to an hour of rain walking / a belly full of bean and cheese dip and too many scavenged French fries. While the game was inevitably called off, hey, at least I got to bond with coworkers and avoid my office cubicle for a half day. In life, it’s all about the tiny victories, right?

1555 Broadway St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.ashesupplyco.com

179. Eos Café – July 10, 2016 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

20160710_162540 (1)My friend had become somewhat of a VIP at this new coffee shop in her neighborhood, Eos Café. She’d been coming in frequently and joked that the table by the window that she always sat at should be designated for her, so they put a sticker with her name on it on the side of it. I think it was on there for about a week, but Sunday when I visited the place and told the owner I met that I was her friend, we discovered that the sticker had been ripped off. VIP status denied!

No, not really. My friend is too charming to have anyone deny her the privilege of being denoted a favored regular. And this owner of Eos is too friendly for me to see him ever treating any customer as more than top-tier. On my visit, he took some time to chat with me and gave me a free iced tea. He was very welcoming, as was the overall vibe of the coffee house. It’s a beautiful space, very soothing to be in, and I found myself wishing it was on my side of town so I could regularly visit and get some writing done. Maybe I’ll need to find an excuse to come to Saint Clair Shores more often.

Eos is not just a beautifully ambient shop peddling the usual coffee and tea drinks; it also offers smoothies, breakfast items, salads, and a variety of sandwiches and paninis. (Ok, it’s not even 9:30 in the morning as I’m writing this, and I’m starving. I need a chicken pesto panini!)

30625 Jefferson Ave.
St. Clair Shores, MI 48082

www.eoscoffeehouse.com

173. The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company – April 17, 2016 – Detroit, MI

After picking up some gorgeous baked goods at Avalon International Breads, my solo mini Detroit Day in Midtown a few weekends ago continued with a visit to The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, a short walk from the bakery. This, my friends, is not some standard coffee shop – it’s a coffee shop/bar! Yes, in addition to serving locally roasted, meticulously crafted coffee concoctions, The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company offers booze – craft beer, wine, and cocktails – and is open late most nights (Monday through Thursday until 11; Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 8). So whether you are looking to amp up or mellow out, GLCRC’s got ya!

The shop’s interior is quintessentially modern Detroit – lots of brick, wood, and metal – and has ample seating, boasting both a bar rail and plenty of tables. And let me tell you, this joint serves up some excellent coffee. I had the lavender latte, and it was everything you want in a coffee: rich, smooth, and flavorful. What a difference high-caliber coffee beans make!

Prior to visiting GLCRC, I’d seen some complaints on Yelp about the sizes of the coffee drinks it ofers. Some people felt they hadn’t gotten enough bang for their buck. And yes, my lavender latte came in a glass that was smaller than the small coffee I’d get at a corporate-chain house. But this was A-OK with me, because the coffee was so delicious; it cost a fair price to me considering the quality. Also, my caffeine tolerance is about nil. This was the perfect size for me; I got a little buzz, but I wasn’t vibrating-in-my-body-insane feeling (as I was when I made the mistake of getting a large Starbucks iced coffee last summer and literally felt like I was on drugs). Cheers to that!

3965 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

(with additional locations in Bloomfield Hills and inside Cobo Hall)

www.greatlakescoffee.com

168. Give Thanks Bakery – March 19, 2016 – Rochester, MI

20160319_12352720160319_12384420160319_124727Happy Saturday, guys!!!! Today I headed over to downtown Rochester to visit a place I’ve wanted to go for months and months and months now, Give Thanks Bakery, a delightful little European-style bakery/café serving delicious fresh-baked pastries and breads and cakes and coffee drinks. Because heaven is an almond croissant and a cappuccino – or a margarita-laced Tigers game in mid-summer (almost here!!!). I’d take either, really.

You guys, Rochester is lovely, but traffic is crazy out there! OMG, what a cluster today!  Once I exited M-59 and turned right onto Rochester Road to head north, it was like every single person who lives in that area was out on the roads at once. OK, obviously that is an exaggeration, but not really. It was cray. It made the congestion of the Hall Road area where I live look like child’s play. Downtown Rochester was just as jammed, but the Universe was benevolent and delivered me an excellent parking spot behind the bakery after just a few minutes of circling. ~Sigh of sweet relief.~

Give Thanks was a welcome oasis of calm amid all of the chaos. Sitting at one of the three little marble-topped tables, savoring my croissant and my cappuccino in its tiny cup, I mentally regrouped. I soaked up the ambiance – the friendly chatter, the pleasant oldie standards (songs by Etta James, Frank Sinatra). Families with cute, energetic children filtered in and out, and obvious regulars interacted warmly with the staff. It was lovely.

You should go and savor a piece of that loveliness! And a chocolate croissant (I’m into croissants, as you can see). But be sure to get there early – Give Thanks is only open until 2 p.m. on Saturdays and until 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (it’s closed Sundays and Mondays).

225 S. Main St.

Rochester, MI 48307

www.givethanksbakery.com

 

 

151. Java Hutt – October 30, 2015 – Ferndale, MI

20151030_193545 (1)Devil’s Night in the D – what was I doing? Out on hijinks, causing mischief? In da club in my ’80s costume, whooping it up? Nah. I was journaling at Java Hutt, then having a cozy drink and meal with a friend at The Emory. Because that’s where I’m at in my life – cozy over crazy more and more lately. I did throw a Halloween party at my house the weekend before. But I definitely have found that, at 31, my priorities have shifted a bit. It is kind of weird when you look up and realize that going out every weekend has kind of lost its luster – like, when did that happen? When did I become an adult? Anyway, enough with the introspection – though the increase in introspection does seem to correlate with my increased interest in coffee shops.

Real talk: I’d always walked by Java Hutt prior to visiting it and been like, meh. It’s nothing special to look at. And I only went there on this Friday because The Red Hook Coffee Shop/Pinwheel Bakery had already closed. That is the place you want to go for ambiance. But you know what? Java Hutt ended up being quite lovely. The female barista who was working there on the night I went was very friendly, in a way that baristas at more sophisticated or hipster-ish places aren’t always. She and a few customers who were there seemed to know each other as well, suggesting repeat business. And it’s not like it’s a hovel because it doesn’t have reclaimed-wood booths and vintage tchotchkes everywhere, per the in-vogue coffee-shop style. It’s clean and well-lit and cozy, and it has a great tea selection. I had a mutan white tea latte (I am stuck on the tea lattes lately). Plus, according to its site, Java Hutt offers organic, fair-trade coffee! And they have food, too – fresh sandwiches and salads and homemade baked goods.

So don’t discount Java Hutt like I initially did – give it a try!

165 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.javahuttferndale.com

 

150. Atomic Coffee – October 18, 2015 – Royal Oak, MI

20151018_164303 (2)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

33. The Red Hook / Pinwheel Bakery – July 10, 2014 – Ferndale, MI

IMG_20140710_163455

IMG_20140710_163635

Apparently this shop is two businesses in one! Or something like that. I think this storefront used to be Pinwheel Bakery and is now The Red Hook coffee shop and is featuring Pinwheel baked goods . . . if the information I read on Yelp is correct. Anywho, the macarons here are really delicious, and I hope to come back for a cappuccino soon, as this is exactly the kind of independently-owned, charmingly cozy little coffee shop I’ve been looking for.

220 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Ferndale, MI 48220

http://www.theredhookdetroit.com

http://www.pinwheelbakery.com