With half of its over 40 locations around Philadelphia, and the other half in a wide and far-flung swath between New England and Dallas, Saxbys Coffee seems to prefer strip malls, small towns, and unimposing places a little more out of the way. In spite of this, the coffee shop is exceptionally well branded; logo-embossed cups are for sale, customer loyalty cards are handed to everyone and drive-thrus make it a very convenient option. Before I sat down to observe, I didn’t know how this place wasn’t ten times larger than it is. While the chains saturate all the main thoroughfares of the big cities, this one sticks a little closer to home.
The basic coffee is good. It’s a very basic but tasty blend, and it’s prepared just right. About medium strength, very hot. Not too dark, the coffee beans don’t taste overcooked. It’s about the ideal base for any number of drinks or flavors, in that its a very neutral brew. The drinks like the cappuccino are heavy on coffee, heavy on foam. Not a whole lot of anything else. I do like that it isn’t overly sweet; you’re getting a lot of caffeine for your buck. At the same time if you’re a sucker for sweet drinks you’ll probably want something else.
There is a breakfast and lunch menu. The breakfast has a number of sandwiches with eggs and various meats as well as steak cut oats, and bakery items such as donuts. Per the website, though, many of these items are the products of local bakeries, not made in house. The lunch is a small menu of sandwiches, a chicken avocado, a spicy tuna, a roast beef, and of course a turkey sandwich. They’re pretty generic. Nothing to write home about. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone order these. People do seem to like the frozen yogurt, though, and the smoothies.
The atmosphere is nice and clean, well polished, and of course there is free wi fi. The people are nice, which is a real advantage of the shop’s preference for small town and out-of-the-way areas; people there are friendlier and community-centered.
But therein lies the disadvantage. I think I see now why, in fact, this place isn’t a bigger chain; the aversion to larger markets. Such a nice coffee shop, so pleasantly decorated and staffed, but in truth, when I try to think about why I would want to go back, I’m at a loss. Yeah, the coffee is good, but so are a lot of other places. Nothing on the menu is particularly distinct. Ohio, at least, the only reason I would happen upon one of these is if I was in a place where no other coffee shop chain would venture. Coming here would be more of a convenience than anything else. Yes, that’s a business model. But not one that is worth a detour.
- The coffee is good. It comes in beans to take home, as well.
- People seem to like the smoothies and frozen yogurt.
- Most of the baked goods come from local bakeries.