After spending an academic year in Columbus where there are coffee shops on every corner and there is a literal coffee trail with multiple Starbucks and campus cafes to hipster cafes down High Street, it's a bit of an adjustment to go back to my small hometown for the summer.
Last year they decided to open a Starbucks after we had begged for years, as the Starbucks team or whoever had always figured our town had too low of incomes to sustain a Starbucks. Then our Starbucks broke the international record for highest sales in an opening weekend.
But before there was Starbucks, there was the Daily Grind. The Daily Grind is a hipster cafe in New Philadelphia, which is a description you wouldn't typically use for anything in T-County, land of the rednecks and mostly boring businesses (and *cough* people *cough*). Located in downtown, the cafe has angled street parking that in my five years of regularly coming here I have gotten two parking tickets thus far. Inside, the walls and floor are a grungy black and red with string lights running across the ceiling and old-timey paintings and detailing. The menu features all that a typical menu offers, but my personal favorites are the Mad Hatter (Americano with caramel syrup) and the tomato basil bisque soup that I have harassed my friends who worked there for the recipe of but yet remains a mystery.
As a local coffee shop, many of my friends have worked there, making the coffee shop experience even more enjoyable and I'd often get free or discounted drinks thanks to them. The workers that I don't know outside of the shop still make conversation, and the owners always say hi when I run into them out in public or at school events. Beyond the staff, I usually know half of my fellow customers, which can be nice and annoying depending, obviously, on the customer. I run into high school friends and peers, youth pastors, teachers, and more every time I go to the Daily Grind.
I first went here when I was in middle school where I first dabbled in the coffee world with the Target Starbucks' white chocolate mocha, but the Daily Grind was down the street from my childhood friend's house so we would walk down the alley and come here; chai tea for her, mega mint mocha for me. Over the years I would sit at the tables or couches here for hours catching up with friends, grabbing a coffee before going to the movie theater across the street, or studying. This place has seen me at my ups and downs. I went on my first date here with my now boyfriend of two years Chris in which we talked for hours and I viewed with a mixture of horror and interest his consumption of two large coffees without dropping dead. I held back tears at a small circle table after discussing family problems with him. I also held back tears the day after Chris left for basic training at a corner table, and one of the baristas I knew brought over an affogato (espresso and ice cream) for free without even knowing what was going on. I came here every Friday my senior year when there was a gap in my school schedule to work on homework and sip on coffee. I typed this article while sipping on a bowl of soup at a corner table.
Although my hometown doesn't offer the variety of coffee shops that I love about Columbus, it will be a long time before the city offers similar significant memories or such personal connection I can always find at the Daily Grind.