Sunday, June 15, 2014

@ Coffee House at University Circle

Have you ever visited a coffee shop where you can't find seating? Not such an uncommon problem, but at one coffee shop in University Circle, you'll be hard pressed to come across anything close to that.

No one can probably tell, but two hours ago, Kelly was
in the midst of manual labor as part of a volunteer church
group. What an outstanding Samaritan.
For this week's Hold The Coffee post, I am featuring my latest visit to Coffee House at University Circle, one of a handful of neighborhood coffee shops that are within a 20-minute drive from my Euclid apartment.

I've been to Coffee House at 11300 Juniper Road two times before, and I made a third visit Saturday, May 30, to catch up with my college friend Kelly Petryszyn, who's an associate editor at Cleveland Magazine.

Whenever I have a story or blog post to type up, I often drive to a nearby coffee shop or library. It's never perfect. At coffee houses, you risk entering loud crowded rooms with plenty of distractions and less-than-ideal seating. Libraries--more specifically the Euclid Library--often eliminates that risk, but in exchange there is often no cafe available to order coffee to keep me caffeinated. At Coffee House, you get the good of both worlds. (I'll extrapolate more into this point later.)

Coffee House is one of a handful of places that sell
this catchy apparel. I am waiting for the "Paris is my
Cleveland" line to come out.
Location: In case the name wasn't obvious enough, Coffee House is in the University Circle neighborhood. More specifically, it's situated in a big, mansion-sized house within a short walking distance of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University's campus. It should go without saying that a lot of college students congregate to Coffee House to work on class projects or at least pretend to do so while creeping on a classmate Facebook profile.

Like most of University Circle, free parking is tough to find. Kelly parked her car a long walk away from the coffee shop, but that was before she was reminded that Coffee House has a parking lot behind the building. It's a small parking lot, and its often full, but most importantly, it's not in front of the building and doesn't disrupt the walk-ability in the neighborhood.

Despite the parking situation, Juniper Road is significantly more quiet than other parts of University Circle, which makes dining on its outdoor patio something magical.

Are you keeping up with your daily intake of cookies and
iced coffees?
Food and Beverage: Coffee House offers salads, sandwiches and other dishes, but that Saturday I stuck to the sweets and caffeine. (I don't even bother making excuses anymore.) With an hour and a half before my chit-chat-after-church with Kelly, I ordered a peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie the size of my hand and a large glass of iced coffee for $4 and change. (I later ordered a refill on the iced coffee when Kelly came.)

A rather unique thing about Coffee House is that they serve see-through glass mugs--making it easier to measure the composition between cream, milk and coffee. (And often, glass mugs reduce the risk of date-rape.)

Space and Atmosphere: I spent the first half of my visit inside Coffee House because my 7-year-old personal laptop can't stay alive for more than an hour without a wall outlet.

So much lovely wood...
Coffee House's interior has a very vintage, warm and oak feel to it. (I used "oak" because there's wooden floors and furniture everywhere.)

But the one thing that stands out greatest at Coffee House is the amount of seating. I counted approximately 36 chairs in the room I worked in. That doesn't include the two other seating rooms down stairs, two rooms upstairs and the patio seating outside. It's enough seating to have a Pokemon convention at Coffee House--an idea that just might be worth exploring.

Another thing about Coffee House's atmosphere is its quietness. You can hear the sound system's soft jazz music playing clear as a full moon because almost everyone sitting inside is typing up a paper, finding their newest distraction on Buzzfeed or quietly conversing with a tutor on how unfair their professor grades projects.

Enough table space for a college student to set up camp.
Despite the upstairs being designated for quiet study, it almost seems rude to have loud social gatherings of six or more people at one of the bottom floor's long tables. (Which I did once a little than eight months ago.)

Thankfully, it was a sunny beautiful Saturday and when Kelly arrived, we veered our chatter and my obnoxious laughs and gasps to the outdoor patio.

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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