Coffee house suggestions and more on Firehouse Coffee
In the post on best places to get a great cup of coffee, I wasn't as clear as I should have been. I was hoping for independently owned coffee bars, shops or houses, or at the very least fairly local franchises for my Top 10 list.
So, for instance, is there a best place to get Zeke's coffee? Doesn't it have its own location on Harford Road? But I'd like to bring other factors into play here, like the atmosphere (or not) and whether the things you can get with the coffee are worth buying, and whether that even matters. The most important part, of course, is that you can get a great cup of coffee there.
I did like this comment from ThinksItsSilly under the earlier post:
It's funny how no one will say Starbucks - - but clearly someone is buying coffee from them... regularly... because they're still around and (from what I see) always pretty busy. Fess up.
Also, Chowsearch's mention of Firehouse Coffee in Canton reminded me that I've been meaning to share a very nice e-mail I got from the owner, Mark Epstein. He actually sent it last month, but better late than never. If you remember, when I called Firehouse several months ago I talked to one of the employees and posted about it here. The employee no longer works there, but not because of me, thank goodness. I thought the incident was funny, not something that I got angry about.
Anyway, here's what Mark wrote: ...
Anyway, I still have a very busy law practice, but have really developed a passion about my coffee shop. I'm a Canton local myself, and love my community. That's part of the reason I undertook the project.
I've brought in anti-franchise products....like Junior's, which you probably know from the Food Channel as Bobby Flay's winner as one of America's top cheesecakes and Carnegie Deli pie.....I'm introducing in the Spring BerryRed, my own answer to New York's Pinkberry and RedMango, a 70 calorie soft serve frozen yogurt with healthy toppings like granola, honey and blueberries.
I just introduced flatbread 7" personal size low fat-skim mozzarella pizzas, starting at just under 5 bucks; and my breakfast sandwiches are thick and awesome.
I have an 11 foot movie screen in the back where we feature on Sat. nights dvd concerts of the likes of Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, or movies like the Blues Brothers....and the community has come to love my statutes of the Blues Brothers that sit outside on fair weather days...and greet people at the old Canton firehouse. ...
I have original artwork-murals along the walls by local artist Uri Victorov reminiscent of the Great Baltimore Fire, with blowups of actual photos from Baltimore Firefighting scenes from the local fire museum.
I'm a local Canton resident and bought and reinvented the place because I love my community and I love meeting people from my community. I hang out there all the time....and I've really put a lot of painstaking effort in trying to make the shop a warm place to hang out. ...I really was visited by an LA movie producer who was signing up a local actress, and he took me to the side to tell me how much he loved the place.
And in this age of struggling businesses with a slow economy, I've been grateful to have the support of my community.
I actually installed electric power strips conveniently at table height all around the store so that cyber addicts can stay plugged in at my store with free wi-fi.
Since I reinvented the store, sales are actually up 40 % over last year.