Matt is holding an energy drink because he and I had
to wake up relatively early to visit the place before it
closed at 2 p.m.
With plans to visit the gym and Matt's friend, Shelby, Sunday Aug. 17, we made a stop down at Sparta Coffee Shop and Restaurant in downtown Newark. (Shelby sat next to Matt in nursing school for a whole calendar year, five days a week. I was slightly jealous and felt threatened by her exposure...)
Before I dive into all of the myriad details I love jabbering about pertaining to coffee shops, I think it's worth explaining why I was drawn to this place. It wasn't simply because its downtown Newark's only coffee shop. This place stood out because of the story of it's owner: a former personal trainer from LA who wants to go beyond owning a business that serves coffee and use it to turn around impoverished neighborhoods. I encourage everyone to read this Columbus Dispatch story sometime. I did, and with the exception that the owner doesn't like disclosing his age to news reporters (I just hate when people do that), I find him very inspirational.
Even with the drive-thru, this is the best McDonald's I have
seen in Ohio.
Sparta at 16 West Main Street is not a house of worship in the traditional sense, but is open on Sundays... but with a closing time at 2 p.m. (Strangely enough, that is its closing time every day of the week.)
I am not an urban planner (yet), but re-purposing and building more residential space in downtown is known to create livelier urban cores. More mixed-use apartments seem to be needed in downtown Newark.
We really bought all of this just for the photo, sadly. We
did finish the coffee and latte at least.
Food and Beverage: Much like its hours would suggest, Sparta's menu caters greatly to the brunch and after-church folks. (Neither Matt nor I were harangued to convert to anything, for the record.)
On that Sunday, Matt and I ordered two large mugs--one with coffee and one with a latte (you can guess by now who ordered which,) for almost $4. Despite eating a big breakfast, we ordered two veggie wraps with fries for $6.95 each. We never finished the meals. The coffee was certified Fair Trade and is sourced by Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, based in Champaign County.
|This is me sneaking photos while Matt was in the restroom.|
My words probably won't do Sparta as much justice as this video produced by the Downtown Newark Association will. Give it look. It even features a worker who is recovering from drug addiction. (That just melts my heart!)
Downtown Newark Association: Featured Member - Sparta Restaurant from Earthwork Productions on Vimeo.
Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via email@example.com on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.