474 East State Street
December 27, 2010
As I was explaining my Christmas plans to a coworker I happened to mention that my husband was from Salem, Ohio. She remarked that she had just moved to Columbus from Youngstown and had frequented Salem while on her last job. She shared that there was a lovely coffee house downtown that fresh roasted their own beans. I'm sure I had a puzzled look on my face, but I tried to hide it. I thought she surely had to be mistaken on the location. Downtown Salem just didn't seem to be a likely spot for gourmet coffee. I mentioned this chat to to my husband and he gave me the same questioning look. Surely, she must have gotten the wrong town. We both had visions of Salem's mostly empty downtown strip in our head.
However, after mentioning this in passing to Erik's mother, the shop was confirmed. We were very surprised. Maybe this is a hint of a downtown revitalization? I sure hope so! Salem has a host of lovely and quaint old homes and it would be great to see a little more life in the downtown area.
On a blustery December morning, soon after Christmas, but before heading back to Columbus, we decided we needed to see what all the talk was about. We loved the quaintness of the building and the character of the inside that left memories of the building's past purposes. The building originally served as a bank and then served as the community newsstand and tobacco store for quite a long time, but under various names, before being turned into a coffee shop in 2007. The current owners have kept some of the wood display cases along the side and display a collection of memorabilia. I also enjoyed the old theatre seats in front of the current coffee bar.
The pastries were also good and homemade, but nothing spectacular. I was left wanting more filling in my hame and cheese pastry and more cinnamon and glaze in my cinnamon roll.
Overall, I think this is a great addition to the Salem community and will welcome another stop on our next visit to town. I loved the cozy and warm atmosphere, especially after wandering in from the cold.
This place isn't quite on par with the coffee at Stauf's in Grandview or the pastries at French Loaf, but for Salem it's a wonderful step away from the chains, a nod to the past, and definitely a step in the right direction.
Cost: Unfortunately, since I'm so behind in my writing I've lost my notes and am doing this entirely from memory. Therefore, no receipt and no idea how much we paid. However, it was your typical coffee house prices.
Overall Rating: 3 buckeyes