Friday, February 11, 2011

Coffee Shops in the Nam: A History

When I was in elementary school, I started spending a lot of time - accompanied by my dad, of course - in a little coffee shop in Connellsville called Coffee on Crawford. Along with my brother, we were regulars. My brother and I probably drank hot chocolate. I do remember ice cream and cookies. Coffee on Crawford was mellow and quiet, with interesting art, couches, and a pool table. I loved it, and if it would've survived until I discovered the beauty of black tea I'd still be there all the time. But it went out of business. I always say it was ahead of its time.

At some point after that, there was a coffee shop in Scottdale. But Scottdale, as its residents always love to remind us, is in Westmoreland County, so it doesn't count. But it did have the same fate as Coffee on Crawford.

Dawson, however, is all ours and does count. Dawson gave us Cafe Noswad, which still has merchandise online despite the fact that they too went out of business.

Some coffee shops used to lurk in Uniontown. One on Main Street was great, then went out of business. I think a new one moved in. A cafe with wireless internet seems to be doing well, as well as a tea room somewhere in town. The problem with cafes and tea rooms here is that often, despite being called cafes and tea rooms, they are neither. I once went into a Connellsville cafe with high hopes of getting a hot caffeinated drink but the place was really a diner. And went out of business. It's a Mexican restaurant now.

While independently owned businesses struggle, chains do just fine. We love chains. Uniontown's Panera Bread has been around for a few years and is still going strong, as far as I can tell, and I've mentioned that we do have a Starbucks inside our Target. I've witnessed disasters there.

I envy you, Westmoreland County, with your multiple Starbucks locations and your fancy drive-thrus and your places like DV8.


  1. I feel like I live centuries ahead of you because I live in Westmoreland County...I've been so spoiled in life and didn't even know it, all because there is a Starbucks right down the street from me. And it's not inside a Target.

  2. I could, and maybe one day will, do a whole post on things Westmoreland County has that would never last in Fayette County. Don't get me started on the heaven that is Pittsburgh.

  3. When Starbucks first opened in Monroeville, my mother said, "Let me get this right. You buy a cup of coffee and they just let you sit there?"
    "Yep," I said. "Just one cup?" my mother said. "Sure," I said. "And you can sit there as long as you want?" she said. "Right," I said. "And nobody asks you to leave?" she said. "Nobody," I said. "There has to be a catch," she said. "That's how they get you."

  4. I think Fayette County has similar ideas, but more than anything I think they think it's too expensive. That and sometimes when I order chai around here people get confused.

  5. I always forget about the little details like this and then I come home from school and that loud NOOOOOOOOOO! you hear at the beginning of summer and christmas vacation. That's me. My younger brother told me that I could get coffee at McDonalds lol.

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one who notices the crazy land known as Fayette. And I love what speed rachel said and I would love to see the fayette county vs westmoreland post.

    When I was working at the Arby's in Mt. Pleasant, the days when crazies would come through the drive-thru, they'd ask if I left the gate open on my way to work.