Wednesday, August 20, 2014

@ Dewey's Coffee House in Cleveland's Shaker Square

This week's Hold The Coffee post isn't only featuring a visit to an unfamiliar coffee shop, but I"m also chronicling my first voyage on RTA with my friend and co-worker: the insatiably indie, Andrew Cass.

Andrew peers pensively into the universe.  Soon after, he began to
shake in Shaker Square.

Has Simon, the wannabe-hipster who complains all day about how too many cities are designed for the car-worshiping lifestyle, has never used public transit? For the most part, yes. Except I did use Portage County's public transit off and on when I was a Kent State student. On several occasions, Matt and I have used Columbus' public transit because we got exhausted walking along the Short North all day.

But yes, I never once took bus or rail in Cleveland's RTA. (Nor can I say I've done the same in Buffalo, either.)
I'll talk more about my transit experience later in this post, but let's talk Dewey's Coffee House, a place about which I've heard plenty, but never had the privilege of visiting. It is sort of out of the way from where I live in Euclid, but certainly worth the trip. A visit to Shaker Square requires a free Saturday, and luckily, on August 9, I was able to pull Andrew away from his record collection and bro crush for Chris Pratt to join me.

According to this sleeve, a new lease at Shaker Square
Apartments gets you a free month of coffee at Dewey's.
If only Shaker Square wasn't so far from where I work...
Location: Originally, Andrew and I had planned to drive to the Shaker Square neighborhood that Saturday, but leading up to the weekend, I remembered the stressful time I had during my first Shaker Square commute two years ago. I was a public radio intern back for Northeast Ohio media outlet, WKSU, and I was joining reporter Vivian Goodman to do a feature on the head chef of fire food and drink. (You can listen to the story and my multimedia piece here.)

I remember being impressed by the Cleveland neighborhood's pedestrian-friendly beauty, but I was also stressed out by how to get around the square's traffic patterns and where to find free parking. I was stressed out so much that I left my keys in the unlocked car's ignition during the entire 90-minute assignment. (I am happy to report that I haven't done anything as stupid as that since then.  Matt, my boyfriend and almost-nurse remarked, "Just think of how your carbon footprint could have been prevented if you'd popped an Ativan."  *snorts*)

Andrew ate a piece of his muffin before I had a chance
to shoot a photo. I made sure he wouldn't be doing that
again by verbose scolding and a hand slap.
Thinking of it nowadays, it seems silly to drive to Shaker Square with its connections of bus routes and rail lines. Shaker Square is one of the most accessible places to reach by public transit, and it is an excellent example of a high dense population well-served by public transit. If it wasn't so far from where I work, I would flirt with the idea of moving to Shaker Square. But since it is not, I will stick with flirting with the idea of Matt moving there.  (He remarks, "Geez, Simon.  You certainly flirt a lot in these blog posts.  Should I be worried?")

Food and Beverage: Dewey's has plenty of things to snack and fuel-up on, but its menu is not very different from an ordinary neighborhood coffee shop--If such a thing as an "ordinary" neighborhood coffee shop even exists.

On that Saturday I bought a 20-oz iced coffee and a chocolate chunk, maple, pecan cookie for $5 and change, and Andrew bought a 16-oz dark roast coffee and a blueberry muffin for $3 and three quarters.

This is the popcorn-shop-side of Dewey's in Shaker Square.
One thing that sticks out at Dewey's is its partnership with Popcorn Shop Factory in Chagrin Falls, which has been sharing the same owner for the last three years. In the Shaker Square venue, one side sells coffee and the other side sells popcorn, with flavors like Cajun and Chicago-style caramel-corn and double-cheese. I didn't buy any popcorn that Saturday because I still had a third bag full of honey mustard popcorn stashed away under my bed from a Chagrin Falls adventure a week prior.

Space and Atmosphere: Dewey's space is filled with cantaloupe-colored walls, framed art and wooden floors. Compared to the Chagrin Falls popcorn shop, which also serves Dewey's coffee, the Shaker Square location has plenty of seating area for small groups of four or five. And it has small tables and bar-stool areas for people who want to camp out on their laptops and exploit the Wi-Fi.

And here is the cozy corner in Dewey's.
Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.

P.S.: As far as using RTA for my first time, everything went pretty well. Andrew and I never got lost, but we did arrive roughly 40 minutes early for our first bus stop onto Route 94. I lost my $5 day pass only once during our stay, and at only one time did a random woman approach me to rattle about how I need to stop stuffing things in my pockets or someone is going to rob me. It went so well, I used RTA the next day in a small mini-adventure to Ohio City.

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