Matt making his signature pose in front of River Road's
back entrance. Now ironically, there's a Tim Horton's next
door. However, given its proximity to the local mall, it may
not be ironic afterall.
Located at 973 N 21st St., River Road Coffee shares the name of it sister coffee shop in neighboring Granville--home of Denison University. Considering the Granville shop's address sits at 935 River Road, you can imagine which one came first. Now oddly enough, the sister shop in the village of Gambier, Wiggins Street Coffee, derives its own name from the street it sits on. I can only guess the community of Kenyon College there wasn't satisfied directly connecting themselves with an establishment near Denison.
And just to add to the name game, One Line Coffee in Columbus' Short North neighborhood provides the shop's roastings.
I spent a heavy portion of my time at River Road reading a
couple issues this--something I didn't even know existed.
One of their issues had a terrific story about how some
coffee shops inadvertently stir gentrification
in low-income neighborhoods.
Location: Unlike the last coffee shop I visited in Newark--Sparta Restaurant and Coffee--River Road isn't in or near downtown. In fact, it's in the more sprawling portion of the city less than a mile away from Indian Mound Mall.
At first, this location soiled my first impressions of the coffee shop. It may not have a front parking lot, I thought, but the area is far from the pedestrian and bike friendly neighborhood of downtown.
That impression quickly changed during my visit with Matt. After chit-chatting it up with the baristas, I quickly learned the shop's building is a repurposed bank, and despite the sizable setback, it isn't all that difficult for a pedestrian to enter River Road Coffee from the sidewalk.
|Regrettably, I shared very little of that Stromboli with Matt...|
Food and Beverage: River Road's food menu doesn't go much beyond baked good, but because Matt and I had finished a workout at the gym less than an hour before arriving, I couldn't help but order a stromboli and marinara sauce at the shop. Along with that, Matt and I ordered a mug of light Ethiopian coffee and green passion tea for $8 and change.
|I love the wall of local photo art.|
Space and Atmosphere: I am sucker for whenever vacant building is repurposed into housing or another type of business like a coffee shop. A repurposed bank may not be as incredible as a repurposed gas station, but it still blows my mind thinking about it.
Remnants of the bank's past still linger in the shop's interior, most noticeably the window dividers separating the counter area from the seating area. I am not sure how much has changed in the building since River Road took it over some 6-7 years ago, but I love the mixture of materials and colors used inside shop. The skylight also gives a calming mood to the space.
To my disappointment, I couldn't find a vault safe anywhere
inside the shop. That must have been removed when the bank
Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.