|Matt is king of the parking lot!|
I doubted Fuel at first glance, but as Matt and I stepped inside to see the interior, my doubts dissipated. I immediately noticed the gas station-themed decals and menu items. Although very strange, I thought it was cute. "Maybe it's trying to reveal some irony in how Americans worship our cars and the fuel that feeds them," my initial thought ran.
|I am told this man owned the former gas station for 40 years.|
Not only is the premise great, so were the service and atmosphere; so much that Matt and I took a second trip the day after to study and work at Fuel.
Location: Little Italy is a very vibrant neighborhood within biking distance of Case Western Reserve University and all of the museums at University Circle. In addition, Little Italy's shops and eateries along Murray Hill and Mayfield Road keeps Matt and I dreaming of moving to the neighborhood someday, despite that neither of us are even a small bit Italian. (Matthew is a rather estranged Englishman with pretty intense eyebrows. He often pictures himself as Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice.)
|Someday I will own this mug...|
Food and Beverage: Have I mentioned how much I love Fuel's clever menu items? They call their $1 refill a "spare tire" and a hot chocolate with four espressos a "wrench of the day."
The simple use of string lighting and fabric dramatically transforms the space.
I also asked for a Fuel Loyalty Card so that I can someday soon win one of their free mugs. (It takes 12 stamps to get it, and as of writing this, I just realized I forgot to ask for stamps during our Sunday visit. Fail. Matt is gasping and smacking me lightly as he edits this.)
Space and Atmosphere: I am sure most people would expect to find a very industrial, possibly minimalist, design inside a gas station re-purposed into a coffee shop. Not the case at Fuel. In fact, the space takes more of a groovy 1970s-look with its orange color scheme, draped walls and ceilings, suspended lights and gas-station memorabilia. Some may call that unusually freaky. I think it's refreshing. I am getting a little tired of always seeing the same coffee-shop conventions like fire places, exposed ceiling vents, sofas and free WiFi... just kidding on the last one. Fuel indeed does have free WiFi, and quite frankly, no coffee shop should exist without it.
I am just posting this shot because in case it turns out
to be award-winning material. Look at that lighting.