Tuesday, November 25, 2014

@ Scribblers in Geneva

Hold The Coffee steps into Ohio wine country this week with a visit to a special coffee shop in the city of Geneva.  Clevelanders' first impression of Geneva is probably the handful of vineyards that sit on the outlying townships. (That and probably Geneva-on-the-Lake a few miles north of the city.)

Most people actually take the side entrance, but that wasn't
nearly as attractive as the front entrance.
I am here to report that there is more to find in Geneva than local wine and summer carnivals.  (As my boyfriend, Matt, was editing this piece, he shared that he attended church camp as a youth in Geneva and partied hard as a twenty-year-old at several bars at Geneva-on-the-Lake.  The area offers both Jesus and gin, according to Matt.) The city has a healthy downtown with some neat shops, some wonderful western reserve-era homes and most importantly, the city has a local coffee house and roaster. 

That place is Scribblers Coffee Co., at 388 South Broadway. My Madison friends MaryAnn Froebe and Terri Wagoner joined me in a blog visit to the shop Saturday Nov. 8. It was my second time visiting Scribblers. Sadly, my reporter beat area is just shy west of the Geneva boundary. If I did cover Geneva, I would probably be at Scribblers three or four times a month.

Location: Yes, many cities have their own coffee shops, but finding a shop that does its own in-house roasting in a small city of a little more than 6,100 people is a pretty remarkable feature. (It's also open daily until as late as 7 p.m., another rare feature.)

Nope, that's not a picnic shelter. That's the nation's shortest
covered bridge and it is right next to Scribblers.
Scribblers' one-story building and side gravel parking lot is embedded in a fairly industrial neighborhood near downtown Geneva. It neighbors a car service shop, Old Mill Winery and rail road tracks. A few steps from Scribblers is Liberty Street Bridge, the nation's smallest covered bridge.  (Upon editing, Matt exclaimed, "What the $%&@ is wrong with these people?  I'm sure that money could have gone to the library system!") It's a cute neighborhood, but nothing can settle for a coffee shop in downtown Geneva.

I am not asking, nor would I expect, Scribblers to move from its current home to fill a bottom-floor commercial space in one of downtown's mixed-use buildings. Besides, Scribblers is less than a half mile south of downtown. That's not much of a walk or bike at all.

Food and Beverage: With a full kitchen, Scribblers is definitely a lunch-hour coffee shop. The traffic at Scribblers was fairly soft when I first met up with MaryAnn and Terri at 10 a.m., but by 11:30 a.m., the crowd had grown significantly larger. Not only that, but I estimated four-fifths of the patrons I saw had sandwiches, salads and soups. It was less about filling up on caffeine and more about filling the stomach.

Nothing beats a table full of freshly baked and roasted
carbs, sugar and caffeine. 
While meeting the Madison gals, I got a ginger cookie and a 12 ounce cup of coffee. I lost my notes and I can't remember how much the cookie cost, but the coffee was $1.59, and it came with free refills, of which I took advantage twice. I love when coffee shops do that and it works nice here because the place keeps a selection of six roastings for patrons to pour themselves. The first one I tried was their Covered Bridge Blend.  (Matt crankily inserted, "What does a dwarfish covered bridge taste like in coffee form?")

I stayed for a few more hours after Terri and MaryAnn left and ordered an Applewood Smoked BLT for $6 and change. I was one of a few people that day who camped out at Scribblers to work and I am not ashamed to say that. After all, I did drive nearly 50 minutes east to check it out.

Space and Atmosphere: Although hardly anyone was on a laptop that day, Scribblers does have a conducive environment for work with stable WiFi, small tables and nearby wall outlets. It's also a great place for gatherings of four to seven people, which I saw plenty that Saturday.

I love the white support beams. It definitely reminds me of
the local wineries here.
Scribblers has a lot of seating and tables, and possibly too many. That day I was knocking into one or two people every time I maneuvered back and forth from my table.

Scribblers' white painted columns and polished surfaces remind me of the local wineries I've visited near Geneva like Ferrante, Grand River Cellars and Debonne. Scribblers shares more than just a similar interior to the local wineries. The community group Connect534 (named after state Route 534) actually has a special deal this month and December where people can win a gift card by visiting and ordering a $5.34 lunch at eight of 17 partnered businesses. Most of the places are nearby vineyards and wineries, but Scribblers is also one of them. It's fitting that an area known for making wine has a place also making its own coffee.

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. 

1 comment:

  1. Clevelanders' first impression of Geneva is probably the handful of vineyards that sit on the outlying townships. (That and probably Geneva-on-the-Lake a few miles north of the city.) itunes gift card sale