Two of my favorite things in life, coffee and chocolate. After researching coffee shops in Lincoln, Nebraska, I found a shop that combines these two favorites: Cultiva Coffee. I read on their site that there are three locations. One was called Cultiva Labs, where they house their roastery and chocolate production. Their website said to not be afraid and come check it out. I was up for the challenge! Only a few minutes drive away from The Bay coffee shop.
I pulled up and parked in front of this super retro yellow building. I was really digging the retro style signage out front. From the outside the building didn’t look very large at all, I’d compare it to a roadside diner: small, but inviting. As I walked through the doors, I entered coffee heaven! Cultiva Coffee completes the entire coffee operation all under one roof. There were tons of beans, bags, machines going off, and the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee. To make this even better, chocolate lay all over the counter!
I heard a “Good afternoon” coming from the back. I looked up to see a woman coming towards me. I told her I stopped by to check out Cultiva. She assured me that I had stopped in a wonderful coffee shop and she would gladly answer all my questions. This was Joshlyn, a badass barista, coffee roaster, and Cultiva Labs manager. She knew her coffee!
I had a great time discussing coffee with her and she was nice enough to pull me a fresh espresso shot so I could see what she’d been working on. She informed me that they currently have 7 single origins, 1 espresso, 1 dark roast, and 1 decaf; their coffees and roasts are always changing. They sell upwards of 2,300 lbs of coffee a month between wholesale and in their cafes. Their roasters crank out 20 lbs at a time. Cultiva’s most recent project has been producing cans of cold brew, which you can order online for local delivery or pickup.
Cultiva started roasting right here in Lincoln, Nebraska, back in 2004. This building used to actually be an ice cream shop back in the day, hence the retro design I pointed out. Cultiva built two cafes in 2015 providing a place to sit, relax, and drink coffee. The cafes offer delicious brunch options, WIFI, and music that is solely played from vinyl. Cultiva does a great job supporting the community and even supplies the hospital in town (kicked out Starbucks). Cultiva is really conscious of farm-direct coffee and has suppliers located in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The espresso shot I had was FULL of flavor and warmed me right up. I followed it with a delicious cup of Cafe con Amor, a Costa Rican coffee grown at 4,500 ft with both sweet and nutty notes of honey, cashew, and green apple. I highly recommend this roast; here’s a link to order it online. If you’re in Lincoln, NE, you ought to go check them out.
Be sure to check out their two cafes in town if you’d like a meal. All they offer at this location is chocolate, keep reading to find out more.
In addition to coffee, Cultiva has its own line of gourmet chocolate. Their very own bean-to-bar chocolate operation, Sweet Minou, the first business of its kind in Nebraska. I must’ve timed my visit perfectly; right when I was about to head out, Rebecca the Chocolatier arrived. She was very happy to meet me and hear what I was doing and asked me about my travels. Rebecca was friendly and had extensive knowledge of chocolate, the cacao industry, and everything in between. I tried milk mocha, Haitian Pisa cacao, Dominican Republic Oko Caribe with Nibs, chocolates with caramel, and even some with pomegranate. This was the real deal and I was loving every sample I was offered! I even tried their Sweet Minou, Guatemalan Cahabon 70% Dark Chocolate – yum! Rebecca walked me around and explained the chocolate production process and how far it has come over the years. They make everything from scratch and use ethically sourced cacao beans and other clean, organic ingredients. If you’d like to order some, here’s the link.
While we were all discussing coffee, chocolate, and everything in between Rebecca described the bliss you experience while drinking coffee as “Having a moment.” I couldn’t agree more. Coffee is the most present thing in my life. I stop, take a sip, and constantly remind myself how grateful I am for everything I have in life and how special coffee is to me.
It was clean, fully stocked, and had that supply closet feel. This location wasn’t really for the lounge-type so I understand that the bathroom wasn’t going to be too special. No complaints really and I enjoy the painting above the toilet that I got to stare at for a few minutes. I will rank this restroom an 8/10.
A coffee shop and a skatepark, together?! Oh yes!
I was hanging out in the town of Lincoln, Nebraska, just skating around one morning. This guy walked by, looked at my Maryland plates, and Find That Coffee shirt. He then asked, “Have you been to The Bay coffee shop down the road?” I replied, “Never heard of it, but I’ll go check it out!” I handed him a Find That Coffee sticker, tossed my board in the car, and set my GPS to The Bay.
I pulled up to a massive gray building with a gorgeous awning, patio, and a halfpipe in the parking lot. Inside was just as cool. Walking into The Bay I was surrounded by exposed brick walls, concrete floors, exposed ceilings, tons of seating, and a coffee bar straight ahead. Inside the shop plants hung from the ceiling, some rad merch was displayed for sale, and really cool artwork was scattered throughout. This place was massive and I soon learned why.
I headed up to the counter and right away the baristas could tell I wasn’t a regular. I told them I had been traveling and checking out local coffee shops around the country. They were beyond excited that The Bay was on my map. I met Kieran, Shayne, Meg, and Aaron; they were nice enough to take a photo with me. Shayne walked me around the corner and showed me the workshop and Aaron gave me a tour of the skatepark. Stay tuned to learn more about that later in the article.
I did my usual technique of asking what the barista recommended. Right away Kieran said, “Man, you have to try the Citrus Magic.” I was intrigued and told him that it sounded good to me. He fills up a glass of ice, pours in cold brew, dash of coconut sugar, and grabbed an orange peel and a lighter. Next thing I know he’s lighting it on fire and bamn! Drops it into the drink to give it that zesty kick. The coffee roaster they used is Archetype in Omaha, Nebraska. I can still recall my first sip of that Citrus Magic over a year later; it was absolutely delicious! I haven’t found a similar drink since. Trust me, order it.
The Bay offers a few different kinds of pastries and, even better, they’re made in-house. They were almost all sold out but they still had a few tasty pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and sweet potato cheddar biscuits. Right as I was at the counter, someone came up and ordered one. You better hurry, these pastries sell out quickly.
One of the coolest things I learned from this visit was the fact that the entire space was all a nonprofit, created to be a great environment for everyone. Whether you are a kid looking to skate, a parent who wants to relax, a student who wants to study, or a dude traveling around trying out coffees, you can do it here. As of November 28, 2020, the skatepark just celebrated its 10th anniversary. They are a huge staple in the community and welcoming of all people. They offer free WIFI so people can use this place as a means to get work done and create.
The skatepark has quite a fascinating story behind it. Originally, the skatepark was much smaller. When expansion began on the new skatepark, a local concrete company decided to donate all the concrete needed. Every day, the company would stop by and empty their trucks after their main jobs were done. With 15 minutes notice at times, the staff and volunteers were out there building ramps and pouring the floors. They did an incredible job, this was by far the biggest skatepark I have ever been to. And now the original skatepark is a music venue where a number of bands perform regularly. If you are interested in skating, you can sign up for day passes, month passes, private lessons, skate school, and even rent a board or helmet. Keep your eyes out, Ryan Sheckler and his team were here back in October 2019!
The Creative Space
At the “Find Your Grind Space” you can create, anything! The Bay hosts many workshops in this space; when I was there they had just hosted an extensive workshop on photography where participants learned about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The Bay provides Mac desktops for people to learn on and an archive of skate magazines backed by @lookbacklibrary. I browsed the gallery around the corner. On one wall the topic was “Untold Migrant Stories – Empowering newly resettled immigrant and refugee youth through photography and digital media.” The other wall had photos of skateboarding, hiking, landscapes, and a butterfly by the artist @AawhanAawhan. I’ll post photos of both below the article.
There’s a huge variety of clothes and merch, anywhere from short sleeve t’s to hoodies to beanies to jackets and more! Be sure to pick up a cool shirt and represent such an awesome coffee shop and skatepark. This is a picture of the shirt I wish I bought when I was there! I’m hoping to visit again soon and meet Mike Smith, the founder of this awesome place.
The bathrooms were huge, full of supplies, and clean. There are two bathrooms – mens and womens – with multiple stalls in each, perfect for a skatepark/coffee shop. It would be awesome if they had a muralist come in and tag The Bay on the wall. No complaints, great job, I will rank this an 8.2/10.
Now, this is an experience I am excited to tell you about. I was driving through downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, and spotted a sign for Crescent Moon coffee shop. Parked the van and followed the arrows. The sun was beginning to set, it was 5:30 p.m. and I needed a caffeine boost! To my surprise, the coffee shop was located down the stairwell. This was my first “basement” cafe!
I opened the door at the bottom of the stairs and walked into the coffee shop. The aesthetic was definitely one of my personal favorites. Crescent Moon is extremely industrial, with cement floors, preserved raw brick, massive exposed wooden beams, cozy lighting, and tons of seating. I really wish I could physically take you there through this article, you would love it. It’s unlike the majority of shops I have interviewed; underground, not a single window, tons of hanging artwork, and soft folk music playing in the background.
There were easily over 25 people enjoying the shop with me. The subtle hum of fingers typing on a keyboard, people lounging on chairs and couches, studying textbooks, or quietly catching up with friends. This place was so deceivingly large, it’s hard to show in the photos. But it has an entire additional side where I discovered another 15 chairs and desks. I really loved the rawness, yet intentionality of this coffeeshop build.
I was heading up to the counter to meet the barista when suddenly a lady came out from a room that appeared to be an office. I politely stopped to ask them if they were the owner and to my surprise they were! They said they were about to head out for the day but if I wanted to ask them more questions, she and her family would be relaxing at a bar down the street in an hour. I said “Perfect, I would love to!”
While I was there I ordered a cup of their Sumatra dark roast coffee and WOW it was good! My mug was full of rich dark chocolate and smokey notes. The roaster they use is “The Coffee Roaster” which happens to be a local roastery out of Lincoln, NE. If you’d like to try this coffee or a different roast, here is the link to buy online.
Crescent Moon offers tons of great food options! They have a bunch of freshly baked pastries to choose from: scones, muffins, sweet rolls, and cookies. And homemade soup that will warm you right up on a cold Nebraskan winter’s day. Two of their most popular items are crepes and paninis! With over half a dozen food options for each, you can’t go wrong. As I’m writing this, I wish I would’ve ordered a cinnamon sugar crepe! Be sure to check their hours to see when the crepes and paninis are available.
Meeting the Family
I walked to the bar down the street and met up with the Crescent Moon family! I met the owner, Amanda, and her mom Melinda. I also had the pleasure of meeting Cole, Mark, and Amanda’s grandmother Darlene. They treated me to a beer after hearing about all the coffee I had consumed that day. I learned that Crescent Moon began in 2001, and this building with the bar was actually their first location. Amanda owns the coffee shop and Melinda (her Mom) runs the payroll books. They stumbled upon the underground location years ago; it used to be an old architecture firm full of drafting tables, no plumbing, and no coffee bar. It had been sitting empty for 5 years, but the minute they saw it, the family had a vision of the successful coffee shop it would become. I’m happy to report what a good job they have done. We learned about each other’s lives for almost two hours, telling stories of coffee, biking, and traveling. They were very nice people and we quickly became friends. I cherish moments like this, feeling as if I truly learned about the place, and the people, I have temporarily visited.
The following day I visited Crescent Moon for Poetry Night and ended up running into Darlene. She was one of the sweetest women I met in Lincoln and was very excited about my coffee blog. She hugged me goodbye when I was leaving and wished me safe travels. If you see her or anyone in the family, be sure to tell them Spencer says hello.
The Crescent Moon Insider Scoop!
Monday’s – Poetry Night
Wednesday’s – Touring Bands
Thursday’s – Music Open Mic
Friday’s – Solo Musician
Saturday’s – Larger Bands
(Likely altered due to COVID-19)
Considering there were two bathrooms, shared between a coffee shop, tattoo parlor, and an escape room all on the same floor, they were very clean and well maintained. Fully stocked with toilet paper, spotless floors, and large enough to hold a dance party. I am going to rank this an 8/10.
I rolled into Lincoln, Nebraska around 5:00 p.m. on November, 3rd 2019 in a dire need of coffee. The sun was beginning to set and I looked up the nearest coffee shop to me. My GPS pinged me back with Method Cycle & Craft House. Didn’t sound like a coffee place but I was eager to find out. I parked out front and to my amazement there were a ton of bike racks and the window read “BEER BIKES COFFEE.” This is my kind of place.
I headed through the glass doors to discover one of my favorite designed coffee shops. I enjoyed the cement floors, reclaimed wood, industrial lighting, exposed wood ceiling, and handbuilt table and chairs. There was some cool artwork hanging on the walls by the artist, Jeff Iwanski @jdiwanski, consisting of eyeballs, birds, and smiles. Straight back there was a full-service bike shop for repairs, tools, and gear. I spotted the most perfect sign that read, “Filter coffee, not people.” I headed up to the bar to grab a seat.
At the bar, I was greeted by the barista, Karynn, she loved my shirt and asked what it meant. I explained that I am traveling the country checking out coffee shops and she was excited that I happened to stop here. She has been working here for the past three years and really enjoys it. She gave me a little rundown on the coffee shop and said they serve coffee, beer, cocktails, and fix bikes.
They have 14 craft beers on tap and most of them are local. The chai, vanilla, lavender, and orange syrups are all homemade. They offer free WIFI for customers and each barista gets to choose which music to play during their shift. Karynn told me it can be anything from jazz to hip-hop, cottonmouth, indie soul, or good news for people that like bad news. The coffee shop is open till 10:00 p.m. and the bike shop closes at 6 p.m. The artwork is local and changes monthly on the first Friday.
While interviewing Karynn, I asked her if I could please order a cup of black coffee. She poured me a fresh one and told me that their roaster is Archetype out of Omaha, NE and I should check them out. It was piping hot but it smelled delicious and I couldn’t resist a sip. It was full of notes and hit the spot after a long day on the road. They offered all sorts of coffee drinks and one was even an espresso soda, I regret not trying it. Two drinks she recommended was the Plum Cider – apple cider, cinnamon, plum tea. The other was Velo Orange which was an iced orange cortado which sounded good!
Method offers a few sweet treats to fill you up. The pastries were mainly made in house or by a local bakery, Le Quartier. There were muffins, pain au chocolat, cinnamon rolls, danish, and quiche. If you were in the mood for something more different, they had nuts, olives, bread & oil, hummus plate, cheese plate, and a charcuterie plate. I heard good things about their homemade granola as well, you could pair it with fresh fruit and milk or fresh fruit and yogurt. Check out the Tasty Tidbit later in the article for a Method insider.
There is a complete full-service bike shop in the back of Method. I was highly impressed and if many of you don’t know already, I love cycling and I’ve even ridden across the United States. This made me really happy to see that they offer a plethora of tools and a pump for customers even when the bike shop part of Method is closed. Funny story, I was taking photos of the pump and tools when a random girl comes up and asks me if I can please help fill up her back tire because her valve stem was acting weird. I didn’t work there, but I was honored to do it for her. Maybe I just look like a coffee drinking cyclist. Method is a meeting spot for many cycle clubs and running clubs in Lincoln, NE. They even host bike packing classes for people interesting in touring as well. Join one of the clubs, they get discounts on drinks, can’t beat that! Shoutout to Karynn for opening the closed bike shop I could see it.
Make a note, Method serves some tasty housemade liege (Belgian) waffles every Saturday and Sunday until noon. They sounded amazing and they are always a big hit, don’t miss out! Next time I’m in Lincoln, this is my first stop.
The bathroom was good, nothing special. It had everything you needed and even a plug if you had to charge your phone I suppose. I will give them credit for the stall because it looks like they built it with very similar construction as the tables. It was clean, no complaints. I will be ranking this bathroom a 7.5/10, I think they should add some cool bike touches.
The turn of the 20th century in Cheyenne, Wyoming brought with it the exciting new Paramount Theatre (built in 1904). As I drove by it, curiously looking to see what was playing in this historic theater, I read, “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice.” Then I spotted Paramount Cafe in the window! A theatre turned into a coffee shop?! I had to stop and check it out.
I parked the van and headed inside past the ticket booth towards the cafe. The chalkboard sign in the booth now contained a movie quote rather than showtimes and ticket prices. It read “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller”. I love signs and plaques like this. They provide wonderful little check-in’s to appreciate the journey of life, especially during all of my travels. There were tons of people working at tables, conversing with friends, and enjoying themselves. I couldn’t get over how amazing and well-preserved this place looked.
My favorite piece of history that I noticed right away were the floor tiles; the craftsmanship was exquisite. Next, there were hardwood floors in the back of the main hallway that looked to be original. I turned right and headed into the coffee shop area only to be blown away by the ceiling tiles, antique lighting, and the coffee counter that looks to be the original snack bar that they may have used. I loved all the historic details the cafe had maintained. Although the old-time photos on the wall staring back at me gave me the heebie-jeebies.
I made my way up to the counter and kindly introduced myself to Katie, Chris, and Cullen. I told them all about my travels and they were excited for me to experience this place and everything it has to offer. The second they told me that it was built in 1904, I had to ask if it was haunted. Chris told me he had once heard his name being called while he was working, yet no one was around. Eerie. This theatre started out as a live play theatre in 1904 and was badly damaged in a fire in late 1915. In 1931 it was rebuilt and renamed the Paramount Theatre as it stands today. Then in 1980, another bad fire destroyed the auditorium. All that survived was the cafe and ballroom. Fun fact, the Paramount marquee outside is original to 1931, and the coffee shop loves to put fun coffee themed messages on it.
The owners, Renee and Jon Jelinek, bought the property in 2013. They converted the upstairs to a co-working space and The Paramount Ballroom next door was converted into a gorgeous cocktail lounge. The majestic building on the opposite side of the Cafe has been turned into 40 beautifully renovated office spaces that overlook the town. These people are do-ers, and they do an excellent job! I know the community must be grateful to have them.
Katie wanted me to know just how much the owners strive to help the community and that this is much more than a simple coffee shop. They offer WIFI for customers to sit, relax, and work if they’d like. They also love supporting music and the arts; pretty fitting that they established this cafe inside of a theatre! The first Friday of every month they have Open Mic Night and this allows different artists in the area to showcase their talent. All of the art seen throughout the hallways and cafe was produced by local artists. It was nice to see the owners’ passion for community engagement. When I was there, the artwork on display was created by Alisha Isaacson and her work was phenomenal. I’ll attach some photos below. Don’t forget to check out the cup art on display, all sorts of artists put their unique spin on it.
The coffee was not to be taken lightly. I ordered a drip coffee and it was absolutely delicious, it didn’t need anything added to it. Their coffee is roasted by Jackie’s Java in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I sipped coffee while I met and pet Crypto – the Super Dog! He was such a good boy. The two most popular drinks when I was there were the M.O. 35 and the Butter Beer. The M.O. 35 is a chai latte with caramel and espresso added. The Butter Beer is an Irish cream and butter rum latte; next time I visit I plan to try it.
There are quite a few food options at Paramount Cafe. Some of the options are scones, muffins, yogurt, and gourmet breakfast burritos. The yogurt parfait consists of homemade gluten-free granola and berries. If you’re looking for even more variety, you can always head over to their ballroom for a fun menu of tasty bites and desserts. A few things I would order would be the Brussel sprouts, fingerling potatoes, or the house made hummus. Yum!
There is a patio outback that used to be the auditorium believe it or not. Now it has chairs and tables to enjoy your coffee and relax. Different graffiti artists have decorated the brick walls and it looks so cool! The baristas told me that if you walk out past the patio you can look back and see what used to be the balcony area of the auditorium. Be sure to check it out.
Have you ever had a bad day and forgotten your wallet and someone spotted you? Have you ever wanted to return the favor and “Pay it Forward” later? Well, now you can, Paramount Cafe offers customers to buy a drink and write who it is for. All you have to do is tack it up on the board. While I was there, there was a free coffee pass for an active or retired first responder. I loved this idea and would love to see more coffee shops offer something similar. Spread the good, or as they wrote on the board, “Let the warm fuzzies commence.”
This was different and very old I’m assuming. Luckily they have updated the plumbing over the years with a newer toilet. There looked to be antique tiles on the walls, original floors, and nice decor. Fully stocked and cleaned, I am going to rank this theatre bathroom a 9/10.
On November 2, 2019, the temperature was in the low 40’s and I was in dire need of a cup of hot coffee. The heat of my van worked fairly well, but the windows didn’t insulate well at all. I scanned my notes for coffee shops in the area and The Crooked Cup sounded intriguing. It was only a few minutes away in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was quickly on route for coffee.
I pulled up in front of a massive brick building and the first thing I saw was “COFFEE” across large windows that covered the front of the shop; I had to be at the right place. I made my way through the front door. Unlike the picture below, this place was booming when I first arrived. Every table and chair was taken, I ended up having to sit at the bar, which worked out perfectly as it made it easy to talk to the baristas.
The Crooked Cup is small, but clean. A few round tables with bistro-style black metal and cushion chairs are available for customers to enjoy a coffee with friends, in addition to seating along the bar. The long wooden bar wrapped around from the front of the shop all the way to the back. Different art pieces and paintings were featured throughout the shop, and a fun fire-orange color accented the cafe.
I stood in front of the TV screens and grazed the menu. Instead of the normal “How can I help you?” I was greeted with a “Hey, how is your day going?” I enjoy these the most, as it feels as though you’ve met a friend for coffee, rather than just a business transaction. This is when I met Eloy, the barista and owner of this place. He had a personality that lit up the room! He was ecstatic about my travels and Find That Coffee. He then introduced me to his son who works alongside him when he’s not in school. This is my first encounter with a father and son run coffee shop; it made me envious when I think back to all the times my dad suggested we open a coffee shop together. I’d sling the coffee and he would be a cook. But, Eloy didn’t always have this plan for him and his family; things just happened to fall into place. Keep reading and you’ll find out the whole story.
The Crooked Cup has been here for over 1.5 years but Eloy took over the operations here in July 2019. He did away with paper menus and put them on screen. This was a smart decision; he and I joked about how dirty physical menus can get. The Crooked Cup serves Cafe Richesse coffee and espresso which is roasted out of Fort Collins, CO. Cafe Richesse believes strongly in socially-conscious coffee and imports their beans from Brazil. This ultimately allows them to give back to the Brazillian farmers and community. Conscious roasters, and the cafes who utilize them like The Crooked Cup, make me happy to learn about. There are currently four locations of The Crooked Cup, between here and Colorado.
Eloy was a hilarious guy and full of positivity. I don’t know what it is, but I think all coffee people get along. I asked him what the most popular drink was at the moment and he steered me towards the Crooked Bumble Bee. I told him the name alone had me interested. This latte consists of honey, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Wow, it tasted good, full of flavor. More sugary than the normal drip coffee I usually order, but once in a while I like to spoil myself. If you do like drip coffee they offer two types and a large variety of espresso drinks. And if you aren’t fond of coffee, they offer chai, tea, smoothies, and hot chocolate.
The Crooked Cup offers tons of breakfast options such as bagels, muffins, cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, and chocolate chip cookies. If you’d like something a little heartier, they make very affordable breakfast burritos and other sandwiches. While you’re there you have to try their specialty Kolaches. This is a freshly made puff pastry stuffed with egg, cheese, and bacon or sausage. They serve one full of ham, jalapeno, and cheddar cheese. For vegetarians, they have mushroom, spinach, tomato, and white American cheese. But if you really want to treat yourself, order a salted caramel brownie!
Now, this is a story worth repeating! Eloy had been working his butt off as the head chef in a restaurant for over 15 years. He saw a lot of potential for expanding this restaurant and bringing it to the next level. He offered to buy in on the restaurant but the owner refused. He was burning out. Not to mention he would drink almost a half-gallon of coffee every day at work; an entire tall silver canister during each shift.
The guy that would deliver coffee to the restaurant had seen Eloy almost daily for the last few years. Having a “restless leg” and tired of being stuck in this job, Eloy stopped the coffee deliverer one day and asked, “If I wanted to open a coffee shop, how would I get into it?” His response was short and quick, “Call me tomorrow.” Eloy called him the next day and told him there just so happened to be a Crooked Cup shop for sale in Cheyenne, WY. After showing Eloy the cost and running the numbers, Eloy made his decision to pursue coffee after what felt like the quickest 20-minute decision of his life. On June 4th, 2019 he turned in his two-week notice at the restaurant and bought the coffee shop. He was ready to pour his time and energy into coffee.
For the next few weeks, he was heading to The Crooked Cup in Ft. Collins at 6:30 a.m. for training on running one of their coffee shops. Then getting off at 1 PM and heading to the restaurant for the last few weeks till 2 AM and doing it daily. Although he was beyond exhausted, nervous, and scared, he knew he had made the right decision. He began running the coffee shop here and he’s loved every minute of it. His son helps and his family has supported his vision the entire way, even if it did seem crazy to his wife at first.
From as far back as he can remember he grew up drinking coffee. As a kid in Mexico, his mom would drop him off at his aunt’s for a “fun” weekend with his cousins and they would pick coffee beans for almost eight hours. He always had a feeling coffee would find his way back into his life and I’m glad it did. I had a really great time there and I’m glad I had the pleasure of meeting Eloy and his family.
“I just did it.” - Eloy Martinez
I’m going to be nice here when I say the bathroom is small. It was fully stocked with TP and soap so I’m not complaining. And it did give me quite the laugh, I peered in and saw a portrait of a lady staring back at me. I went to ask Eloy what the deal was and he couldn’t stop laughing. He found the picture in Goodwill and thought it would be absolutely hilarious for some to see while they’re using the bathroom. He wasn’t wrong, I was cracking up. The bathroom could use a little TLC but I’ll rank it a 6.5/10 for creativity.
I was driving around Cheyenne, Wyoming, exploring the cold and snowy streets when there it sat, Central Cafe. An olive-colored building with striped awnings, huge glass windows, a large patio, and a packed drive-thru that wrapped around the side of the building. I put on a jacket and headed inside and to my surprise, this place is gorgeous.
Central Cafe must’ve hired an interior designer who loved coffee. The aesthetic reminds me of an industrial French bistro. The cafe mixes many creative elements, such as exposed ductwork and brick with traditional elements like the tin ceiling tile wrapped counter. There is a strong black and white color scheme throughout, subtle hints of gold, and exposed brick. As I admired the unique lights, white backsplash, and marble tables, I stumbled upon a black and white photograph above the service station that appeared to be an old mechanic station. I later learned that Central Cafe originally was that service station. So cool!
I stepped into line and politely introduced myself to the baristas, Sam and Bridget. Sam is the general manager and operates this cafe, and Bridget is known for her amazing granola and chicken salad made in-house. Central Cafe has been open for 1.5 years. It’s the sister cafe to The Metropolitan, a restaurant located in downtown Cheyenne. It states on the restaurant website, “A classic menu with elevated service and polished casual atmosphere, The Metropolitan Downtown invites you to enjoy innovative twists on comfortable classics, exceptional wines, and creative cocktails.” I happened to drive by it later that day; it looked just as cute as Central Cafe, giving off a very similar vibe.
(Bridget and Sam)
Central Cafe is a great place for anyone that is in the mood for coffee. Whether you want to relax out on the patio, get work down with their free WIFI and many outlets, or you’re in a hurry and need a quick run through the drive-thru, they have what you need. With a huge variety of coffee options, tons of flavors, and even tea, you won’t be disappointed. This cafe sees a pretty eclectic group of people, but especially young adults and business-type. For the colder weather, there is a fireplace to warm you right up. Central Cafe did quite the transformation aesthetically, while still preserving the brick and general shape of the original service station building. I love stumbling upon a coffee shop that looks like it has molded perfectly into the building as if it were two puzzle pieces fitting into one another.
Of course, I ordered coffee, but I knew it had to be a hot one. I had been freezing from the winter weather I had been traveling in. I asked Sam what she recommended and she told me their most popular drinks right now are the Central Latte and the London Fog (with lavender). I decided on the Central Latte, and I’m glad I did; it was delicious and full of flavor. I asked what was in it after I tried it so I could be pleasantly surprised. It contains chocolate, caramel, vanilla, espresso, and milk. Warmed me right up! Make sure to grab a loyalty program card while you’re there, and hold onto it! After 10 drinks, your next one is free. And if you don’t prefer coffee, they offer a wide variety of seasonal teas.
The roaster they use for Central Cafe is a company out of Fort Collins, CO, Wander Coffee. They are a small-batch roaster that has spent the past decade perfecting their skills. Opening the doors to Wander Coffee in November 2016 and they are committed to producing beans that are as ethical as they are delicious. Making sure they source good quality beans from all over the world. I would like to say that Kyle and Megan Kmetz are doing a great job, tasty coffee! Check out their site for online orders, Wander Coffee.
There are plenty of tasty food options. Ranging from muffins, bagels, parfaits, to Ahi tuna bowls, cobb salad, and housemade Belgian waffles (waffle weekends only). Don’t forget to try Bridget’s homemade chicken salad sandwich; there were two ordered just in the short time while I was waiting for my drink. And if you need a pick me up, make sure to order some energy bites!
Does coffee bring out the creativity in you? Be sure to pull out a pen and unleash your best portrait on your napkin. Every week there is a “Napkin Artist” and Central Cafe features them front and center on the counter. When I was there the winner was 9-year-old Sophia with an amazing drawing of a horse! Good luck!
There are two bathrooms and they are extremely clean. This was pretty impressive considering how many people were there at the time. The bathrooms had the same vibe as the rest of the cafe; white tiles, concrete, and lighting in the restroom. Matching the rest of the building very well. I will rank this bathroom an 8.5/10, great job.