So, I come back here after 21 years in Siberia (you heard me right 21 years in Siberia) and started my Sonoma County coffeehouse hopping (something I love to do) when suddenly I realize something. It seems that while I was away there was an unspoken rule implemented through the county, throughout the state and even throughout the country; if you are a 3rd Wave coffeehouses, you don’t serve food!
I was shocked. In 3rd Wave coffeehouse after 3rd Wave coffeehouse I saw that everything was in place; bearded hipsters – check, tattooed, pierced baristas – check, awesome single origin coffee pour-overs from micro-lots who’s names I’ll never remember – check, it was all in place. But the one thing that wasn’t was the food. At first I thought that it was just me; clearly my American food service colleagues knew more than I did. They had done the math and broke down the COGS and found that food just wasn’t the way to make it in the coffeehouse business. But then one day before I went into Taylor Maid Farms, one of my favorite coffeehouses in Sebastopol, to get a cup of coffee and prepare for a coaching session I was doing the next day, I was famished. So, I went to the Whole Foods a block away, got my smoked turkey and Jarlsburg on a sourdough roll and went into the coffeehouse, got my coffee and sat down to eat. When low and behold sitting with their lunchtime cup of coffee was another patron with, you guessed it, a sandwich munching away just like I was about to.
So, I posse the question to us all, does a 3rd Wave coffeehouse have to exclude food? Drop me a line if you know a coffeehouse, café or restaurant that straddles the divide… between the two. I’d love to hear about them!