Wednesday, December 15, 2004

More on coffee shops in New Albany

Several readers have commented on my mention of the old Street Level coffee house that Ed Needham ran a quarter century ago at 13th and Oak.

It's easy to forget that there still is a coffee shop in downtown New Albany: Main Street Grind, located on Main Street and Bank, which has been in business for more than 10 years.

The problem, of course, is that for many of us it may well not exist at all, as business hours for the entire week total only 30 hours. Only on Thursday and Friday night is the shop open past five p.m., and it's entirely closed on Sunday and Monday.

Compare to Heine Brothers in Louisville, which maintains roughly 100 business hours per week.

And makes good coffee.

I have friends who swear by Main Street Grind, and the owners seem like very nice people. Certainly they've learned when there's traffic and when there isn't. I'd patronize them more often if they were open when I need them to be, which they're not, and unfortunately the quality of the espresso varies widely depending on who makes it, with little uniformity in serving size and seldom anything resembling crema. My home unit makes espresso much better.

I'm told that the owners of Main Street Grind have full-time jobs, and that the business is little more than a hobby, and although this may or may not be true, it seems reasonable given the stunted hours.

One measure of the evolution of a community quite well may be the hours of the day when people drink coffee. In the traditional American working world, coffee was consumed entirely in the morning, but in the creative economy, its use extends throughout the day and into the evening.

Echoing Brandon's thoughts, we need a place to go in the evening for books and coffee. An occasional pint of ale would be nice, and I continue to work on that.

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