Yellow Springs, Ohio has the benefit of a few really nice coffee shops in town. The notoriously eccentric little village supports them, too; each brings a little bit of a different experience to the table, with the Underdog Cafe and Emporium Wines being host not only to a wine and bottle shop on one end, but also being host to a series of pleasant local artists on a regular basis. Bring a book and grab a mug, because this is the shop you’re really going to want to linger in for awhile.
Greenville, Ohio is about as small-town-America as they come, and this border town between Dayton and Indianapolis is home to a lot of wonderful experiences you would only find in a place like that. Its homely charm extends to the local restaurant scene, where charming unique concepts abound. One of the main coffee shops in town, The Coffee Pot has it all—good coffee, nice drinks, baked goodies and soups and sandwiches that will keep you coming back for lunch, as well. This is the right kind of coffee shop to spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or conversation.
A neighborhood coffee and tea shop with a few locations around Columbus, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters is a bistro with a specialty in roasting its own coffee and making its own tea. While that by itself is a rare thing indeed, the best part about this little coffee shop is by far the atmosphere at each location; it’s really a place that feels like a comfortable and friendly environment, even in the bustle of a city. The drinks here are made to be appreciated, as is the atmosphere.
This little coffee shop operation in the suburban Western Columbus neighborhood this little coffee shop operation in suburban western Columbus neighborhood is a tiny independent operation peddling frozen drinks, coffees, and some baked goods at inexpensive prices. The real beauty of small independent coffee shops like this one is the atmosphere that they create; as such, Mean Bean is built for convenience. Not only does it sport a drive-through for a quick cup of coffee, but the spot has a nice interior with spacious tables where you can sit and enjoy a book or the company of friends while drinking a cup. I found the place to be pretty simple but it does deliver that independent feel.
The South Park neighborhood near downtown Dayton is rapidly taking shape as one of the hippest neighborhoods in town. While many of the major chain restaurants haven’t established a foothold along the Wayne Ave. stretch, its community bars and food spots make for a unique atmosphere. The neighborhood’s popular groundswell rallies around Ghostlight Coffee, a place where you can get a lot of creative brews and spend some time. Ghostlight’s popularity is well known among downtown dwellers, but even as far out as the suburbs, it’ll be hard to find a coffee spot more Dayton-proud than this one.
Little local coffee shops are an increasingly dying breed, especially in a vibrant and younger town like Washington DC. Every corner has a Starbucks or an Au Bon Pain or some other big name. And while there’s always a crowd who loves those spots, there’s also a crowd who wants to go somewhere where they can really feel like they’ll find a unique, lower-key experience. Coffee Nature, in Tenleytown near where Washington and Maryland meet, sits among a row of local restaurants, definitely off the beaten path from many of the most popular neighborhoods. Still, it’s a pleasant and economical experience.
Right on the cusp of downtown Dayton’s lively Oregon District, Press Coffee is a little hole in the wall along Wayne Avenue with a small but interesting menu of different coffee drinks. It’s frequented most by the folks who live and work in downtown, and Press has a very distinct feel, with its light wood tables and small countertops where folks have a tendency to meet and read. I’ve tried the spot a few times and in spite of some online criticisms I have found it to be a positive experience.
More and more new restaurants are popping up in the area between Cincinnati and Dayton as the two cities grow ever closer together. Monroe and Liberty Township, an area that has seen great suburban growth and most recently major commercial development, brings more people off of Interstate 75 than ever. Coffee Drinkers will find Coffee Beans and Brew, a concept that has some baked goods and plenty of drinks, that seems to draw a crowd of locals from all walks of life. It’s a cozy spot and a very friendly atmosphere that I’d find fair to visit a few times to relax with a drink and a book.