Last Halloween, 2019, was one I’ll always remember! I had already interviewed five coffee shops and was headed back to my friend’s apartment for the day, but I spotted tons of people and the word “coffee.” The sun was beginning to set, hundreds of Halloween monsters began flooding the streets. It’s always fun to be somewhere new for Halloween because every town has its unique way of celebrating. The shops were handing out candy to every kid that approached them, everyone was having a blast. I carefully parked my van, grabbed my notebook, and headed to Coffee Garden.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays with friends and family, so I figured exploring a coffee shop in a new town was the next best thing. This place was packed full of adults, kids, and monsters! I loved Coffee Garden’s logo of a little person with a coffee mug as the head! Before heading inside I just had to pet the cutest German Shepherd with a Halloween bandana.
I headed through the front door where I was greeted by the nicest group of people and offered some Halloween goodies. This coffee shop was huge, high ceilings, tons of seating, and full of beautiful artwork covering the walls. I made my way towards the counter and got in line. While I was waiting patiently, this friendly couple behind me asked me about my Find That Coffee t-shirt. I looked up to discover the real-life Maleficent behind me. This is when I met Nattalie and Gordon, one of the friendliest couples I met all day. I told them all about my travels and where I was headed, they enjoyed meeting me so much that they insisted on treating me to a drink. Since it was the end of a very long day I opted for a hot chocolate. I later learned that it comes topped with Coffee Garden’s homemade whipped cream. If the two of you happen to be reading this, thank you again!
I walked around the coffee shop and enjoyed my hot chocolate, it was one of the tastiest ones I’ve ever had. I know it wasn’t coffee but it was still delicious, I’m a sucker for chocolate. This coffee shop was lined with Cafe Ibis coffee beans and amazing artwork. The paintings were done by Lou Ann Reineke and her bio stated, “Loosely based on a black and white photo or remnant of a landscape sketch or no reference at all.” The sentence that resonated with me the most said, “The resulting visual dialogue can take you somewhere that you never intended to go.” I really connected to this sentence in comparison to my travel plans for Find That Coffee. The visual dialogue of interviewing and telling my story of coffee shops around the country has led me to places I never intended to go, such as Salt Lake City, but I am very grateful for the way this keeps evolving. I have attached more photos of her artwork at the bottom of the page and here is a link to her Behance.
When the rush of customers began to slow down I headed back up to the counter and introduced myself to the barista, Joe, I told him about everything I was doing. He absolutely loved the idea and told me to start firing off my questions. Coffee Garden is 25 years old, the art on the walls changes every month, and their roaster is Cafe Ibis. They play a lot of classical music because people will sit in here, hang out, and do work, they also offer free WIFI. The food is made inhouse which consists of quiche, sandwiches, pasta salad, and other great lunch-style meals. Be sure to check out the delectable pastries! Every barista had a smile on their face and you could tell just how much they enjoyed working here.
I did one more lap around the cafe when a customer named John stopped me and asked me, “Are you some sort of reporter or something?” I told him what I was doing and he really loved the idea. He told me how he frequents this place quite regularly and Coffee Garden is “the hangout.” His three words for this coffee shop were honest, organic, and connection. I totally agree, I felt all of these emotions even though I haven’t even been here for an hour. This is a picture of John below, really great guy. Please make sure to check this place out when you visit Salt Lake City and if you live nearby it’s totally worth exploring!
The paper towels were overflowing in the trashcan but it was Halloween and extremely crowded, yet the bathroom was still very clean. It was fully stocked and the soap dispenser had been refilled. I wish they put some cool art or their logo on the wall. I am going to rank this bathroom a 7.5/10.