Tuesday, April 1, 2014

@ Rising Star Coffee in Ohio City

Remember my "flabbergastion" last week of meeting a coffee shop built inside a former gas station gas station in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood? I've seen very few business ideas can top that... except maybe a coffee shop inside a vacated firehouse.

Devon holding his bag of coffee!
That's what I found Saturday, when I joined colleague Devon Turchan for coffee at Rising Star Coffee at 1455 W 29th St.

Devon along with some of my other friends have been telling me about Rising Star for months, raving over its coffee roasting and pour-over style.

Although I don't care too much about the taste of coffee or how it is prepared, the premise of the shop drew my attention. However, on Saturday I found much more than just a cool building reuse.

Location: Rising Star is located within the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, but it's tucked away from the loud, local-brew enthusiasts on Lorain Avenue and West 25th Street.

Rising Star had very friendly baristas!
On West 29th Street, you can see plenty of new buildings and new businesses. Devon told me he is worried the area is gentrifying and is losing its authenticity. I look at the bright side of it and told him anything is better than having abandoned buildings and vacant lots.

Rising Star thankfully is contributing to preserving some history in the neighborhood. It shares space with three other businesses in the two-story brick structure. And it draws plenty of commuters to the area, myself and Devon included.

Food and Beverage: Rising Star has been the third location I've visited that focuses on pour-over coffee. And of all the shops that specializes in it, Rising Star does best in presentation!

Look. At. That. Groundbreaking presentation! Sad that it's
wasted on a venue with limited seating.
Never have I seen a coffee shop give its patrons carafes (or as I mistakenly call them "serving pictures") of coffee in addition to their mugs. And beneath it, are wooden trays that make the presentation just glorious.

There's not much of a food selection aside from cupcakes and donuts at Rising Star. Devon bought cascara tea and a cupcake for $5 plus change plus change and I bought Nicaraguan pour over coffee and a chocolate doughnut for $6 and change.

Rising Star also has another big surprise. As everyone in the world should know by now, Stevia is the preferred sweetener I use to dilute my coffee. Not many shops I know provide it, and often I coffee shops embracing the all-natural sugar in the raw. That includes Rising. however while browsing through Rising Star's collection of sweeteners, I found packets called "Stevia in the raw." First time I've seen something like that, and unlike sugar in the raw, the Stevia alternative doesn't settle at the bottom of the cup. I think this might have topped my all time favorite sweetener.

Quite remarkable wall design. Love the high ceilings and 
Space and Atmosphere: Rising Star is definitely not the place you bring a group of eight friends to hang out at. In fact, you may not find enough seating for nine people at Rising Star. I assume the warmer months are better considering there are outdoor picnic benches situated outside the firehouse. The inside was such a compact atmosphere, I forgot to even check if the place had WiFi.

Luckily for Devon and I, a pair of people were just leaving as we ordered. We were able to enjoy Rising Star's "industrial interior," as Devon puts it. Nothing at Rising Star is tucked behind a dry wall or curtains. All of its equipment, including its roaster, is visible in the small room with wood-panel floors, wooden window frames and colorful lamps.

A very industrial coffee roaster can be seen in the back.
But overall, the place is designed for wholesale retail with coffee drinking on the side. Half of the patrons I saw bought bags of Rising Star's coffee grinds, including Devon.

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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