What: Locally owned Coffee Shop/ Cafe
Where: East Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia
Although renamed Dolce Cofee in the real word, if you type this coffee house’s address into Google, you’ll find that it was previously called “Greenberry’s.” Social Media Management people! Someone tell the owner of this place that they need to up their game when it comes to the their online presence. Just kidding! Does it really matter? Probably, not. Plus, I’m not here to judge their marketing strategies. Although, I guess I just did. Anyway…
When it was good ol’ Greenberry’s, this place was a franchise. During that time another blogger called it a ”local Starbucks wannabe.” I don’t know what it was like before now, but I’m going to guess that it’s at least made a little bit of an improvement from being a chain coffee shop. It’s not the greatest or cutest or nicest place in the world, but I don’t see it as a Starbuck’s wannabe, which to me, would be worse than being an actual Starbucks.
The first thing that I noticed about Dolce Coffee, before I even walked through the door, was the window display to the left of the entrance, which promotes the coffee shop’s weekly, Friday night Open Mic nights. Any establishment that fosters a weekly open mic is good in my book!
As I walked through the doors and toward the counter, I almost tripped on a huge bump in the floor, which I later found out from a sign placed oh-so-kindly on the front counter, is from water damage. The most annoying part about it is not that I did an awkward ooo-I-almost-just-tripped-but-I’m-going-to-pretend-that-no-one-saw-that dance, it’s that the girl behind the counter was waiting for it to happen. You know she just stands there all day waiting to laugh hysterically to herself over the unsuspecting customers who instantly become victims of the large bump in the floor. I know I would.
I ordered their Chicken Salad sandwich on wheat bread, which I can only say was an extremely disappointing excuse for chicken salad. It lacked any sort of taste and what little taste it did have was not enjoyable or chicken-like at all. Luckily, I also ordered a strawberry banana smoothie, which met and passed my extremely high smoothie standards. Although, it was no Shoes, Cup, and Cork Club Smoothie. But what can ya do? Not all smoothies can be the best smoothies, right?
Of course, now I am blogging and I do have to say that the environment here is very blogger friendly. Myself included, four people in this here coffee shop are currently situated behind Internet machines. The older man directly across the room from me looks like he’s reading the stock markets on his MacBook Pro. I say that because he’s bald, except for a few white hairs clinging for life on either side of his head, he’s wearing a white collared shirt, a tie, khaki dress pants, and suspenders, and just generally looks like an intensely stressed investment banker who just flew from Wallstreet to Leesburg in his private helicopter so that he could enjoy a diet coke at his favorite hometown coffee shop. Whatever, it could be true. Or maybe he’s just playing Farmville.
Another man who is across the room to my right is typing up a storm on his old-school IBM laptop. He look way too cool for a Mac. IBM all the way for him. From the looks of what little he has left of his greying hair, I’d say he’s middle-aged. He has a happy camper vibe going on. He is wearing a maroon T-shirt, dark brown cargo shorts, and hiking boots. He has sunglasses propped on the top of his head and looks just a little bit too happy to be here. He probably just came home from a long, relaxing, technology free camping trip in the woods and is just so ecstatic to finally be reconnected with his beloved Internet. Either that or he just really likes his frappuccino and is telling everyone on Twitter how much so.
There is a decorative tree blocking my view of the third coffee shop laptop-user present here and so I will never know who he is or what he’s doing here. There is another man sitting on one of the stools that are lined up along the counter facing the window and I can’t tell if he has a Bluetooth device in one of his ears or if he’s talking to himself. Either way, why do you gotta do that here, man?
Oh and let’s not forget me. I’m also here. Little old me sitting in my big green comfy chair, blogging away about all of the people in the coffee shop. Am I totally creeping, or what?
I was also able to get some quality reading time in here. I’m currently feasting my brain upon L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which is a total delight of a book that I would most certainly suggest to all lovers of young adult whimsy who have not yet read it.
Is this a good place to reading or writing? Sure. It’s quiet and they’ve got barely audible indie music playing in the background. You’ll find it easy to concentrate here. (Unless you’re me and have a terrible habit of watching, judging, and making up stories about people.) Also, they’ve got WiFi so you can write and publish all in one stop. What a concept!
Bonus Points: Random pictures of Audrey Hepburn that have nothing to do with anything else int he entire shop. I’ll take it.
What: Local Shoe Repair Store turned Coffee Shop/ Miniature-Restaurant
Where: Downtown Leesburg, Virginia
The first time I walked by Shoes Cup and Cork Club, it fooled me. It was all, look at me, I’m a shoe repair shop! (And in my head, I was all, What the heck? Who still gets their shoes repaired? Talk about keeping the history in a historic town.) But that was only the first time. The second time I walked by it, I was able to see past the giant “Shoes” sign (mainly by looking through the window) and realized that it is actually one little kick-ass coffee shop. I knew that it was kick-ass before even walking in because it also had a sign pointing to the alleyway next door that said, “This way to our secret garden.” Which really leads to their outdoor sitting area, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a secret garden.
This is my second time at Shoes Cup and Cork Club. My first visit was with my best friend Tara and one of the cool things about it that she pointed out to me right away is that they have a shoe chandelier. That’s right, a fancy, old-fashioned light fixture that has early 1900′s style shoes dangling from it’s arms. Yes, It’s as cool as it sounds. (Or as stupid as it sounds, depending on who you are.) The rest of the decor here is just as unique. All of the tables and chairs are wooden and no two are the same. There is a bench with cozy pillows that spans along the left wall and the wall on the right side has a rather large chalkboard that anyone can draw on. So DIY!
Shoes Cup and Cork Club boasts that they have the best coffee in Leesburg and all of Loudoun County (voted by Loudoun Living), but I cannot confirm or deny these statements because, one word: SMOOTHIES! You would have to pay me large sums of money to come to this establishment and order anything besides a smoothie. These smoothies here are unlike any smoothie your little blended-fruit-beverage-loving heart could ever dream of. During my first visit here, I ordered the Pina Colada smoothie and let me just say, that was the end of me ever ordering another smoothie from any other smoothie-making business ever. Today I ordered their Very, Berry, Berry smoothie and it is all of the fruity goodness I ever could have imagined and then some. If I were President of the World, I would make it mandatory that every living person have a SCCC Smoothie every day for their entire life forever. Except, if they didn’t want to, because, free will, freedom, etc.
When I first got here, I got distracted from blogging and played Words With Friends for like 20 minutes. As a result, I found out that this is a great place to sit and play Words With Friends while enjoying a smoothie. I was about to take out my laptop and start blogging, but first I checked out the WiFi situation on my phone and it turns out that they don’t offer any free, wireless connections to the Internet. I take that as a sign that maybe they wouldn’t really appreciate their Number One Smoothie Fan hogging one of their tables with her laptop. (Even though I am their Number One Smoothie fan and all.) So I decided to partake in all of my blogging activity via my phone and then took out my book to test out the reading environment.
It’s nice to read here but it’s also not the quietest place either. If you can concentrate over other people’s conversations than you’ll get along fine, but if you prefer mostly silence when you read than this is probably not the place for your public reading endeavors. More than anything, it seems like Shoes Cup and Cork Club is a perfect little place to come to with your best friend when you want to drink lots of coffee, perfect smoothies, and maybe even some wine (Yeah, they have wine too. I know, right?!) while you sit and talk about everything and nothing for hours at a time.
Is this a good place for writing or reading?: Maybe. Writing only if you’re doing it the old way. You know, with paper and ink. There’s no WiFi so blogging is sort of O-U-T, out. Reading if you can tolerate moderate amounts of other people chatting. It’s not a spacey place so you will hear all about how your table neighbor’s week went.
Bonus Points: +1,000,000 points for their Smoothies! Also, shoe chandelier, fake-out storefront sign, and secret garden.
What: Local Coffee Shop
Where: Leesburg, Virginia – South King Street
Right now, I’m at King Street Coffee in historic, downtown Leesburg. This isn’t my first time here. I just so happen to work around the corner from this quaint little coffee house. I have to say, that it’s hard to resist giving them all of my money in exchange for coffee, tea, and the privilege of sitting at one of their wooden tables in the seating area that feels like your mom’s kitchen. It’s very authentic. I’d blog from here forever if I could. It’s like blogging heaven. A small, quiet independent coffee shop with free WiFi and tables. How is Starbucks even still in business? Why would you choose that over this? Wake up, people of the world! Starbucks coffee doesn’t even taste good! That is a fact.
The building, like most of the buildings here in downtown Leesburg, is and old house. Like, I’m literally sitting in what was probably some early American colonist family’s living room. (OK, I don’t know if it’s that old. But let me just pretend.) I bet their ghosts are hovering over me right this very moment. They’re wondering what on earth this alien contraption that I put on their table is. “Why does she keep pressing all of those buttons?!”
Normally when I come to King Street Coffee I order an iced coffee with milk and sugar because I like consistency and am also in love with iced coffee. But watch out world! Today I switched it up. I got the Moroccan Mint Iced Tea as per recommendation of the King Street Coffee barista. It’s a unique blend and the mint gives it a nice little kick. Add a tiny bit of sugar to it and you’re good to go. A perfect 115-degree-weather-I-need-something-cold-in-the-form-of-liquid-now beverage. (Yes, as I am writing this, the heat index outside is about 115. Ew.)
Honestly though, next time I’ll probably get an iced coffee again because the coffee here is 100% delicious, 100% of the time. That’s expected though. I mean, it is a Coffee Shop (hence the word “coffee” in their name) and they use locally roasted beans. Everyone in favor of supporting the local economy say I. “I!”
As I write, I’m sitting at a small table next to a window that looks out to South King street. Across the street there’s a huge pink house that is an antique shop and gift store called The Pink Shop. It’s like, really pink. Almost too pink. But since it is called “The Pink Shop,” I guess the building really can’t be too Pink. In fact, I think this might be the only time that a building can acceptably be completely pink and have a bright magenta door. Nobody else try this. I don’t want to see any other buildings this pink ever.
I’m looking out the window and watching people walk by. This one guy that I just saw hates The Pink Shop. I just watched his girlfriend lure him in. She ran up the stairs to the door faster than he could say “But, babe, I don’t wanna!” He walked up the first two steps, paused, took a deep breath, sighed, and then hesitantly dragged his feet up the remaining steps as if he were walking to his overly-pink death. Watching people is fun. King Street Coffee is a good place to do this.
Is this a good place for writing or reading?: Yes! It’s quiet and I’ve never seen it overly crowded. The employees are friendly and the coffee is Delicious with a capital D. They have free WiFi and cute wooden tables with cute wooden chairs to sit at. Really, what more could a writer or reader ask for?
Bonus points for: Good music, use of local products, and pink scenery.