Tuesday, April 15, 2014

@ TreeHuggers Cafe in Berea

Every so often I'm finding coffee shops that break the boundaries of what a traditional neighborhood coffee shop is, and this week's post highlights on one of them.

I snuck this photo in while all three were conversing. I am very sharp.
For nearly a year, my colleague Amy Popik has been telling me about her favorite cafe in Berea when she was a student at Baldwin-Wallace University--TreeHuggers Cafe. Along with a tour around Berea, Amy invited Devon Turchan, his friend Kate Atherton, (recently adopted as a friend of mine) and I to the cafe at 1330 Bagley Road.

I had strong doubts of featuring the business on my blog for a long time. Despite all of her praise, Amy warned me that TreeHuggers is located in a shopping plaza filled with frontal parking and simulates the model of a sit-down restaurant with a waitress taking orders. (Not my idea of a neighborhood coffee shop.)

But ultimately, Amy and Devon persuaded me in other direction a few minutes after arriving. As they pointed out, TreeHuggers' menu specializes in more caffeinated beverages than any simple diner or restaurant, and on Saturday, we noticed people working on their laptops similar to what you'd see at a coffee shop. Most importantly, all four of us had a wild time eating and chatting at Treehuggers.

A little facet Kate noticed during our visit.
Location: This might be the first time I've ever said this on Hold The Coffee, but I think TreeHuggers should consider moving to a different location in Berea. One that fits its indie-mood better--like Downtown Berea 2.5 miles away--where people can walk between BWU, a nearby bar, comic book store and "everything under the sun"--there's actually a store in Downtown Berea that plays on that name, as Amy revealed to us in her tour.

Instead, TreeHuggers sits across the street from a Burger King inside a soapbox-shaped building that shares space with a gym and a few other commercial tenants.

I try my best to consider the lifestyles of car-worshiping Americans, but I didn't see much of that audience eating at TreeHuggers that day anyway. It's as though TreeHuggers is grounded in some sort of ironic premise.

My dish was the right upper corner. Don't ask me what
Devon, Amy and Kate ordered. I failed to retrieve a
line-item receipt.
Food and Beverages: As mentioned before, TreeHuggers blurs the boundaries between coffee shop, cafe and restaurant. TreeHuggers' menu includes plenty of paninis, wraps, salads and entries catered to people looking for vegan or organic food options. Kate noticed that nearly half of the menu items highlighted endangered, or regionally endangered animals. (e.i.: Manatee Grilled Eggplant Panini, Great Egret Zucchini Parmesan Panini, Red Wolf Rice Bowl and Rock Hopper Penguin Chicken Salad Wrap.)

I mistakenly thought the dish I ordered was named after some sort of endangered monkey: a black bean chimichanga. (My expertise in ethnic cuisine never fails to impress.) Together with an iced coffee, I spent a $11 and change.

My love for Stevia in the raw is unmatched!
TreeHuggers also has all of the stuff you'll find at a coffee shop, smoothies, lattes, iced coffees. It also sets itself ahead of the pack by providing Stevia in the raw. (The is the second time I've seen a place offering the sweetener.)

Atmosphere and Space: As the name suggests, TreeHuggers sports a very tropical atmosphere with its green colorful walls, light brown wooden furniture and a room divider that mirrors bamboo sticks. Green is also found on the upholstery, plates, menus and mugs.

Inside, TreeHuggers has seating for more than two a dozen people--but not enough for the crowd that overwhelmed the place near the end of our group's visit. (I imagine it gets a lot easier when the place opens up its fenced outdoor seating between the parking lot and building.)

Fifteen minutes later, this place was crazy busy.
TreeHuggers provides a fun atmosphere for a group of friends, and like Phix Coffee in South Euclid, it is another example why not everything with a front parking lot is bad thing in the world.

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.

1 comment:

  1. The Coffee shop was really very nice to see and looks great to see and thanks for sharing the information with us.
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