Thursday, May 29, 2014

@ Open Door Coffee House in Madison

Hold The Coffee is finally featuring a coffee shop I've been visiting in Madison Village since my very first day on the eastern Lake County beat in March 2013.

Terri Wagoner,
Mother. Artisan. Civic activist. Reads her local newspaper.
I've lost count on how many times I've opened the door to Open Door Coffee House at 26 West Main St., and for a long time, I've been meaning to feature the coffee shop in my blog. On Saturday, May 17,  I drove nearly 35 miles east of Euclid to join faithful Madison reader and friend Terri Wagoner for some coffee, chit-chat and doughnuts. Terri goes to almost every Village Council Meeting as well as many Township Trustee Meetings and other civic gatherings in Madison. She's one of a handful of people I know who can fill up a radio talk show program about all-things Madison. (And quite frankly, she is one of the few friends I have who care listen to me talk about Madison.)

Probably like almost everyone in Madison, she's visited Open Door plenty of times in the past. 

Beautiful tree mural behind the counter. I am happy to say
this was not lost in the "renovations."
As irony would have it, during the weekend of writing this blog post, I saw that Open Door had undergone "renovations", according to its Facebook page. It figures, but I am not holding this post off any longer.  

Location: Open Door is one of more than a dozen shops and eateries that sit along Main Street's strip across the street from Madison Village Square Park. On one side is a line of one-story and two-story mixed-use buildings, and on the side of the park sits old mansion-sized homes that have been re-purposed into businesses. This Main Street is a bit livelier than most other small villages, thanks to its close proximity to I-90. Most of the storefronts are occupied with neat attractions like a brewery, sushi bar, martial arts studio, vintage doughnut shop, toy store and of course, a coffee shop.   

I have visited a lot of small villages and cities while living in Ohio, but downtown Madison remains one of my favorite communities in Northeast Ohio.   I’m not just trying to flatter nor charm the Madisonites into befriending me, mind you. 

Yes... That is a Styrofoam cup in the frame...
Food and Beverage: Although most of my Open Door visits have only entailed recharging quickly on some caffeine and carbs, Open Door does offer lunch and breakfast dishes like soups, sandwiches and wraps. They also serve ice cream and smoothies. That Saturday, I remained faithful to tradition and ordered a bagel with cream cheese and an iced latte for $5 and change. I typically order iced coffees, but Open Door prepares their iced coffees with a cup full of ice to be filled with hot coffee. That puts a lot of pressure on balancing the right amount of ice versus coffee in the cup and I usually can't help but overwhelm my coffee with ice.

Open Door's menu is pretty light on the wallet, something I like to attribute to its non-profit status.

For good or bad (but mostly good,) the alternating painted 
strips have been removed at Open Door.
Atmosphere and Space: In case you're wondering, Open Door is a non-profit because of its religious affiliation with North Gate Ministries. (I couldn't find a web site on the group.  Apparently there is a plentitude of ministries sharing the same name. A worker told me last week that the ministry is a network of home-based congregations.)

It's really no surprise the coffee shop is religiously-affiliated. Throughout its interior, the coffee shop has framed posters of a divine figure (some would call Him God--or Her-- as Matthew, my boyfriend, offered.) and bible verses like Isaiah 43:1 - "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."

Some might ask if this brings a rather indoctrinating mission to the coffee shop, but I view it as a rather quiet, contemplative space for chit-chat after church or reflection.  I admit to being raised Lutheran-turned-skeptic with little knowledge of the Bible, but even so, Open Door provides a space for any human being looking for a great cup of coffee and a place to think. The same isn't so true for Matt, a rather pluralistic, confused Episcopalian and self-learned biblical scholar and humanist, tends to criticize the space, claiming it distorts biblical context. However, he's always happy to join me for coffee whenever we visit Madison together, as long as I pay.

Found this little surprise when I was in the restroom last
week. I was doing a number two so it didn't affect me.

People can see all of the coffee shop's new changes on its Facebook page, but I'll keep my opinions on hold until I have a chance to fully examine the new interior..

With that said, I will say I am a fan of the exposed brick and wooden-painted floor at Open Door.

I often tell people how disappointed I am over the lack of neighborhood coffee shops in Lake County. For a county more than double the size of Geauga, it seems to only have just as many neighborhood coffee shops.  I am just glad one of them is Open Door.

Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.

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