Tuesday, April 29, 2014

@ Cool Beans Cafe in Medina

Hold the Coffee takes its first step into Medina County this week as it explores one of historic Medina Square's stand-out shops.

Look how big that bag is. Who knows what she's hiding 
in there.
My boyfriend's friend, Kristen Hoffert, (who I am trying to swindle onto my side) and I visited Medina Saturday April 19--our first visit to the city. I selected Medina because of its rich significance of being the hometown to Ohio's House Speaker William G. Batchelder.

...Not really. I truthfully picked it because Kristen lives in Richland County and Medina makes a convenient halfway point off of Interstate 71. But we're glad we visited Medina's historic district and all of its pedestrian friendly sidewalks, mixed-used colorful buildings and lack-of-frontal-parking-lots beauty. Kristen has plenty of background in historical preservation working previously for the Mansfield Reformatory and now the Galion Historical Society as its coordinator. And it is no secret I am a wannabe urban planner who squirms at the site of buildings re-purposed and preserved.

Cool Beans still has to make some progress on the
Styrofoam front. If you read closely, you'll see that
the Stryofoam industry is fighting back with its own
But most importantly, we got to visit Cool Beans Cafe, a name I am surprised hasn't been issued a trademark infraction yet.

Location: Cool Beans has two locations, the other in historical downtown Wadsworth. (I haven't been there yet, but I do plan to make it in my next Medina County visit.)

The Cool Beans at 103 W. Liberty St., sits in a two-story brick building with plenty of boutiques, specialty shops and eateries all around. Despite every county resident and their hidden spouse and kids congregating Saturday to Medina Square, the street parking and parking lots sitting a few blocks outside the square provided enough ease for commuters like Kristen and myself to stash our cars away.

Medina Square reminds me of a bigger, more populated version of Chardon Square.

I forgot to ask what Kristen ordered. I am getting sloppy.
Food and Beverage: And just as both historic districts remind me of one another, so do their coffee shops. I would even dare to say Medina's Cool Beans is a close cousin to Chardon's Beans Coffee Shop and Bistro. (Which, if readers remember, was the first coffee shop I reviewed on this blog.)

Their menus both offer the salads, smoothies, sandwiches and soups we come to expect from a full-kitchen coffee shop. (Or as I like to call it, the four S's in "coffee".) And of course they have every hot and cold caffeinated beverage to impress all of the high school students.

They do have their differences, of course. Cool Beans has seemingly a wider lunch selection with paninis and wraps and Beans Coffee focuses a bit more on breakfast.

Who needs Instgram filters when you have dramatic 
I held off on ordering lunch at Cool Beans Saturday because it was our first visit to Medina Square and I wanted to stretch our visit to one other local eatery. Instead, I ordered a large iced coffee and bear claw for $4 and change.

Space and Atmosphere: Cool Beans offers a spacial, casual atmosphere for groups of friends and committed journalists who want to write outside the newsroom.

Through an extensive visual survey and Kristen's consultation, I deducted that Cool Beans has seating for approximately three dozen people and although not as many electrical outlets, enough to keep the laptop campers settled in their WiFi.

The most unique thing I found at Cool Beans was it's dedicated party room sectioned off with glass walls in the corner of their space. It's advertised for cooking classes and birthday parties. It probably wouldn't work for my wedding reception with Matt, but it's heading in the right direction and I urge other coffee shops to take notice of Cool Beans' layout.

There's a lack of interior exposed brick, but I love the colors 
and I love the furniture.
In fact, there's a lot rural and suburban coffee shops can learn from Cool Beans.

Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via email--shusted@news-herald.com--or on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.

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