Friday, May 2, 2014

@ Angel Falls Coffee in Akron

UPDATE: News-Herald Reporter and all-around video game expert Andrew Cass pointed out to me May 10 that I mistook Angel Island Zone in the Sonic The Hedgehog games as Angel Falls Zone. This pretty much defeats my attempt at making a clever and nerdy joke.

Hold The Coffee features its first Akron coffee shop in this week's post, and it's in a area I am often excited to visit, the Highland Square neighborhood.

Bless Micco for adventuring with me around Highland
Square wearing those painful heels.
Often known for its progressive, eccentric arts scene, Angel Falls Coffee at 792 West Market St., exemplifies the feel in the neighborhood.

My long-time Kent State University friend Rebecca Micco, whom I call simply Micco, joined me for coffee and some adventure Friday April 25. She teaches English in North Carolina, but visited Northeast Ohio for Spring Break so we were eager to re-unite!

My love affair for Akron runs deep and since its closer to Youngstown, her hometown, than Cleveland, I thought this was a perfect for a visit.

While that Friday wasn't my first time in the Highland Square neighborhood, it was the first time I visited Angel Falls, and you better believe I was wondering the whole time whether the owner loved Sonic The Hedgehog enough to name his shop after one of the game's zone courses.

Maybe its just me, but I think the mural should continue
around the entire building.
Location: Lets be honest: Angel Falls isn't located inside a very attractive building. It's a short, one-story brick building that I can only suspect doubled in width sometime ago by building an addition next door, one that doesn't quite match the original building's facade. (Matthew, my boyfriend and editor, disagreed passionately over the merits of this buildings appearance. He said the building is quaint, original and alternative; and that I should not be so judgmental.)

Some people might get turned off the coffee shop's non-conventional look, and quite frankly, I probably would've been one of those people two or three years ago. Nowadays, however, I value people and businesses who make the best out of unattractive infrastructure. It's better than an abandoned building. Or worse, a surface parking lot.

And judging by the mural on the side of the building, I can tell love and effort was poured into this property. Much like the rest of the Highland Square neighborhood. And I say all of this despite the VanDevere car dealership siting along West Market Street between this section of Highland Square and downtown.

No one can say no to that brownie. Not even Micco's
willpower.
Food and Beverage: Angel Falls does its own roasting and embraces the fair-trade, eco-friendly lifestyle like so many other coffee shops I've visited. However, I don't know any coffee shop managers who travel to New York City to keep up on trends at Coffee Fest, an annual coffee shop convention, and document their visit on Facebook, like the Angel Falls staff. In fact, I didn't know such conventions even existed.

What first drew my attention at Angel Falls was the countless jars of coffee beans stacked around the perimeter of the space. Just as visually captivating, however, is Angel Falls' selection of cakes, brownies and cookies, plentiful enough to make a type-2 diabetic pray.

On Saturday, I ordered a large coffee and a chocolate-peanut butter brownie for $4 and change. Micco opted for a healthier alternative, ordering a sandwich and a bottle of Snapple. She ultimately surrendered to half of my brownie. (And then I made her join me for lunch at Wally Waffle a few blocks down. Hahahaha!)

Here is one side of Angel Falls.
Space and Atmosphere: Much like the building would suggest, Angel Falls interior is divided by a wall. On one side, it's decorated with coffee bean jars, sweets and plenty of natural lighting from its large windows. The other half, filled with seating, has a more relaxed atmosphere with its combination of carpeted and wooden flooring, ceiling, floor and desk lamps, and art mounted around the walls.

A quarter of the people I saw that Sautrday were working on their laptops and the rest were conversing about world events. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I was eavesdropping on the conversation of an older man and younger woman sitting beside me. I can't really remember the topics they covered, but it kept me entertained while I waited for Micco to arrive.

And here is the seating area side of Angel Falls.
This was clearly a public radio crowd, I thought, which is the best crowd. Matt would call them granola.

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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