Monday, January 19, 2009

Coffee Shop and more

Growing up, I had the perspective that coffee shops are the place to be: You can go there for open-mic sessions, there is almost always a "house blend" of the much beloved java, coffee shop jams are playing whilst you work on something for personal, business or academic reasons, and the list goes on. They are places where you meet up with friends to "meet up for coffee" and they are places that provide the lush comfy couches and chairs that one needs while they journal about some stressful or blissful event in their life.

As of late, many coffee shops have been bridging that gap from just a place that sells coffee to a place that sells tea, herbal infusions, smoothies and food of all kinds, making that transition into a bistro rather than a coffee place.

My old favorite coffee shop, Saxby's Coffee, has undergone many of these similar changes. Not only does it continue to have a drive-through (something I feel more non-Starbuck's places must have if they wish to compete with the big green S-monster), but they have introduced beverages and food that both titillate and satisfy the body's needs. The drawbacks with this change seem to outweigh the benefits of it's new name, 52 Eighty Crepes & Bistro (which seems to lack the zing and distinctness of Saxby's). It has lost the intimate feel that no-name coffee shops tend to possess. With a new owner (who I still haven't met), the employees seem to be left in the dark about what goes on outside the boundaries of their little 10 foot kingdom from which they work. Everything has taken on an edge that seems to imitate the casual side of pottery barn while attempting to be both modern and relaxed. There are virtually no "lighter" options for meals and beverages, limiting the health-conscious consumer to herbal tea and water. And, to make matters worse, they have a TV that plays in the back of the shop, with captions. I always thought that an escape to my beloved coffee-shop of choice meant escaping my home and everything that goes with it. If I wanted to watch TV and eat junky food while smattering my beverages with every unhealthy additive imaginable, I would stay at home and eat processed lunchables!

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