LG Picks: Best Indie Coffeehouses

Food & Wine, New York City, United States — By on March 20, 2009 at 9:36 am

by Molly Fergus

One of the first things I do when I visit a new city is scope out its coffee house scene. A neighborhood café easily reveals as much about a community as its local pub, usually supplies a plush stack of local magazines, and gives me an excuse to escape my hotel room.

Naturally, I read the Chicago Tribune’s Best Bets for Coffee on the Road with interest – and a raised eyebrow. The piece, which took barista suggestions on the best brews nationwide, praised traditional favorites such as Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, while broadly declaring that New Orleans has no good coffee. As both a seasoned traveler and an experienced java addict, I had to throw in a few of my own domestic picks.

Cherry Street Artisan, Columbia, MO Full disclosure: This was my college go-to cafe, so I have some sentimental attachment to the artsy underground shop. But that doesn’t make the spicy hummus less tasty, the big-mug latte less comforting, or the baked goods less tempting.

Third Street Stuff and Coffee, Lexington, KY My good friend — who grew up in Northern California, went to school in Lexington, traveled Europe with me and now lives in New York – says this flyover country coffee shop is her favorite on the two continents. I almost agree (the college fave wins out).

Café Du Monde, New Orleans, LA I could (and did) wander around the Marigny for hours popping in and out of hipster coffee joints, but when there is Café Du Monde, why? What this tourist staple lacks in hole-in-the-wall appeal it easily makes up for with strong chicory coffee, over-powdered beignets and primo people watching. Oh, and 24/7 service.

Abraço, New York, NY Abraço doesn’t fit any of my usual coffee-shop criteria. There’s no couch with free weekly mags, the room is barely big enough for its counter, and to watch any people I have to squint out the window. But the espresso is perfection, the cortado heaven. What else should I want?Got an un-chained coffee shop that you love? Tell us about it!



  • Shannon says:

    This post is making me crave some a decent cup o’ jo man – there just isn’t much on offer in the tiny town iI’m in in India right now and my coffee habit is jonesing!


  • Ashley says:

    Stella International Cafe in the Fisher Building in Detroit, MI is by far my favorite local java joint! They brew Illy coffee and offer out of this world pastries from local organic Avalon Bakery as well as their own fruity smoothies with fruit from Detroit’s historic Eastern Market and deliciously sinful panini sandwiches. They also have a sister shop, Rowland Cafe, in the Guardian Building.

  • Molly says:

    Ashley, we’re in Detroit with the Wienermobile now, so I will definitely be making a trip to check out Stella! Can’t wait!