Tuesday, July 22, 2014

@ Erie Island Coffee in Cleveland's East 4th Street

Hold The Coffee is featuring a very special coffee destination--voted 2014's Best Coffee Shop in Cleveland Scene Magazine. Despite having a second location in Rocky River, this award is directed at the downtown Cleveland location at 2057 E. Fourth St.

Matt's ready for a Backstreet Boys music video. 
Now, I know what you're thinking... if Simon isn't saying it, Scene must be wrong--or at least the people who voted in the poll. Does it agree with my opinion, though? That's hard to say. People have asked me that very question before and I never have a simple answer. (But don't worry, I will be doing my own "Best Coffee Shop" post sometime around this blog's one-year anniversary.)

For now, let's focus on my latest experience at Erie Island Coffee, Saturday, July 5. I visited the East 4th Erie Island once before in September to meet up and catch up with my friend, Quara Gant, a Kent State graduate who now lives in Wooster.

I hadn't seen her since that meet-up. When she told me earlier this month she was planning another cameo in downtown Cleveland, I arranged another meet-up at Erie Island (This will have to become a regular pattern between us.) This time, I brought my boyfriend, philosopher and editor, Matt, and she brought her friend from Pittsburgh, Sonay, who after a couple years studying at Kent State decided to take her talents outside of Ohio.

Pictured here to the right is Sonay's and Quara's legs. 
I didn't know they were watching my photo shoot 
with Matt at the time.
Location: This was Matt's first time in downtown Cleveland's East 4th Street, an area that reminds me of photos of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It's a cultural gem where pedestrians comb the brick street and vehicles are banned from entering. Like almost anywhere in downtown, finding free parking within a 30-minute walk is very difficult, which is more reason to flirt with the idea of public transit.

East Fourth Street is mostly filled with bars and restaurants people go to after a professional sports game, so Erie Island gives a new variety to the mix. What's even more remarkable is Erie Island's weekend hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. This flexible is unheard of for a downtown Cleveland coffee shop.

Matt and I were so famished, we didn't even try to
make the food presentable.
Food and Beverage: Similar to the Rocky River location, Erie Island on East 4th offers plenty of lunch and breakfast items. Preparing for a long day ahead, Matt and I ordered a Caprese Crush sandwich, a peanut-butter bran muffin, a 20-ounce iced coffee and a 16-ounce drip-coffee for $12 and change. Matt wanted to steer toward a more extravagant caffeinated beverage, but the barista behind the counter told us the espresso machine was out of order. (I could sense deep pain felt throughout the coffee shop.)

Space and Atmosphere: Erie Island has a narrow, gallery interior filled with mounted art, wall-reflected light and a nice bar-stool area near the glass door. It's perfect for lonely bloggers like myself who want to camp out on someone else's WiFi during cloudy days.

This photo is actually from my first Erie Island visit back in 
But it doesn't take a downtown Cleveland expert to know what makes dining on East 4th Street special: its outdoor patio area. It's a lively, decorative, historic, and best of all, car-free.

Despite the good weather, I steered my group to sit inside that Saturday because it was a bit too lively and loud outside and I always prefer tranquil, calm conversations.

I am not going to declare Erie Island on East 4th to be Cleveland's best coffee shop, but it does make me wish I had an RTA bus membership and that the transit agency would finally expand its rail service to Euclid.

Since my last visit, Erie Island staff have added these
"locally made" art, according to Matt. There was an alleged
sign posted about it, but I didn't see it. I am skeptical, but
we'll have to trust his word. 
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.

P.S. to all of the loyal readers who follow my blog: I am sorry about the spotty postings this past month and a half. I got caught up in "The Walking Dead" craze, but I am now recovering. Lets hope it takes a while for season 4 to get to Netflix.


  1. Coffee shop is the most popular place in the world. Here people come to fresh their mind and boost their energy. Here people spent their free time. Best Coffee Shop.

  2. Great coffee shop blog and people spend their most if the time there. And I think this blog is much-needed one as winter is around the corner