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Notes from the Inside, By the King of all Regulars

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One of the joys of running a local business (really, the largest of all joys to me) is getting to know our customers. Michael and his family are staples at our local shop. They are the epitome of why we do what we do. It’s Michael and others like him that make it worth the very hard work that is starting and running a local coffee shop.

We give you our very first guest post, by none other than Michael, “The King of all Regulars”.

My name is Michael, and I have been told my family and I are among the most active “regulars” at Sourdough Cuppa Joe. So much so, that not only might you recognize me, my wife, and our young daughter at our favored Door Table but that we also have appended an epithet to our much beloved coffee shop:


As in “Sourdough” truncated, and rhyming with the Lower Manhattan  neighborhood, “SoHo.”

Of course there is a neighborhood in Seattle known as SoDo, so perhaps we need the drastic extra step of SoDoJo. What do you think, #SoDo or #SoDoJo?

Comment below!

Nonetheless, I first visited SoDo a few days after it opened. Fall had arrived, the trees were hinting at their coming November blazes, and I had just decided to scale back my superfluous spending at an unnamed corporate coffee behemoth emblazoned with green Sirens and tasteful faux wood design elements.

It had simply grown too expensive and too mundane, and though I befriended many of their baristas who were local, the corporate culture was weighing heavily on my inner mindscape.

When I travel, I like to seek out local coffee shops and patronize them. They are always there, tucked out of sight behind tourist strip malls and downtown areas, their presence often betrayed only by modest signage.

Examples include the highly recommended Camp Coffee Roasters in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which is right on the very end of the touristy downtown Main Street attached to an outdoor outfitters.

Another example is The French Bakery on Hilton Head Island, often missed due to being located around the back of a popular strip anchored by a chain grocery store. Guess what is inside that chain grocery store? That’s right, the Great Green Siren! It’s always packed, and it cannot hold a proverbial candle to The French Bakery, within easy walking distance.

Exhibit C is the free-spirited and eccentric Our Coffee and Wellness Bar which is, believe it or not, in the back corner of a skate shop in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Not exactly The Hangout.

But these three coffee shops are all locally owned and superb. Alas, Blowing Rock, Hilton Head, and Gulf Shores are several stones’ throws away.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I learn a locally owned, non-chain, coffee shop is opening in the old Nana’s building.

Yes! As the fall moon magic unveiled itself and started drifting smoke-like through the changeling trees, a small coffee shop was opening up.

We had to check it out, and I’m a little high maintenance. For me to come back to a place more than once a week, it has to have several things going for it.

Locally owned is best. Good vegetarian options. Excellent product. The ability to eat relatively healthily if so desired. Competent staff. Pleasant and honest atmosphere. Good value. No posing.

And, finally, it just has to have that certain je ne sais quoi,  you know, panache, the indefinable.

Okay, fine.
The X Factor.

SoDo has all of the above. It is summative. It transcends its modest parts. I highly recommend Sourdough Cuppa Joe for the above listed elements; they are all there.

Stephen will memorize your order. If you are a high maintenance customer like yours truly, Abbie and Elizabeth will patiently discuss ingredients and recipes. To wit, Elizabeth recently kindly informed me approximately how many eggs are in a single order of one of my favorites, the spinach artichoke quiche (about 0.8) as well as how much heavy whipping cream it contains (not much at all). Abbie gives me ingredient rundowns on newly revealed cupcakes, her passion for baking and creating evident.

I could go on.

Suffice it to say that I don’t have an issue spending more money than I likely should at local establishments, but life is too short to spend money at places that just aren’t that special. Sourdough Cuppa Joe is special, and I hope they don’t change a thing.

Since that fateful fall debut not too long ago, I have been to SoDo several hundred times, four to five days per week, and for this I am unapologetic. I enjoy supporting local family run businesses; I am a SoDo proselytizer.

Our little daughter loves it, and it has become a part of our family’s interior landscape, our active myth-making. The “Green Siren Behemoth Coffee Company” still lures uncounted customers to their shallow waters and submerged rocks, but I can’t hear their song anymore.

My ears are blocked by Cinnamon Rolls.

See you there,

Michael, The King of All Regulars.

Favorite items:

  • Spinach Artichoke Quiche
  • Toasted Sourdough slice, light butter, Black Bear Jam
  • Dark Roast drip coffee
  • Cinnamon Roll

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