Good Eats In Town ~ 11th Issue
I was reading a blog post this morning that a friend had written a couple days ago. He is a coffee connoisseur, of sorts, and by the end of the post, I found myself not just wanting, but needing, a coffee. It then occurred to me that in Good Eats I have perhaps neglected one of the most important stops I make during the day… my coffee stop.
I was just about to head downtown to do a little research at the Registry of Deeds, and I decided to get a coffee first, get my head into the task and come up with a plan for the days work . I drove to Central Square in Keene and pulled up in front of my favorite coffee spot, Prime Roast.
Prime Roast is a fantastic coffee stop. As I said, it’s located right down town, in the middle of all that goes on in Keene. It’s one of those places that you can’t go in without seeing at least one, if not a number of people you know. There is no class distinction here…the upper crust and the homeless order side by side. Everyone is welcome, and at least within the confines of this shop, friendly towards each other.
You can request a coffee drink or tea made special to order, or pour your favorite brew out of one of a half-dozen different urns at the counter. I can’t claim to be a coffee connoisseur, like my friend, but I can tell you that I think the coffees here are delicious. My favorites are probably the Demon Roast or the Mexican French Roast…rich, dark and delicious. I don’t believe I have ever had a bad cup of coffee here.
Then there are the sweet temptations on the way to the register. They are not always of the same type, but the goodies behind the glass always look and taste scrumptious. If I’m behaving myself, I stick to a biscotti, but on occasion, in the afternoon, if I stop here with the family after school, we pick out something decadent, and then find a spot on one the couches, or in a window seat, or if it’s nice outside, on the grass out front.
Today, I brought along a file to review for work, and sat at a small table to read over what I needed to do today. The shop was crowded with people, everyone doing their own thing; talking, watching other people, working on laptops. My photographer wasn’t with me, and all I had was a little digital camera to take a few shots, but I decided to walk around and capture a few images. I think the first flash made everyone turn around, a little startled perhaps with the strange guy from corner table snapping photos of coffee and pastries, but then, it was no big deal. Everyone went back to doing what they were doing.
Prime Roast has such a comfortable atmosphere. I think that’s one of the big draws for me. I like to feel comfortable in a place. It’s part of the whole experience. Usually, when I walk in, one of the staff throws out a friendly hello or at least or smile in my direction, and when I go to pay, they know my name. They know my name. Wow. Maybe it’s silly, but that is so important. I’ll come back!
The owner and staff go out of their way to make you feel at home, so much so that comfort is only trumped by sitting in my own living room at home by the fire. I don't mind bringing a book or a few deeds to read over while I sit here sipping my coffee. I can be as engrossed in my book or in the goings-on around me as I want.
And here is one of the secrets to success. You cant just serve good food and drink. If you want people to come back, to tell their friends and family about your shop, to make it a regular stop, you have to develop a relationship with them, have some interest in them or at least be friendly and recognize them. People want to feel invited and always welcome. That’s what they do here, and they do it well.
When I like a place, I try to share it with everyone. I want to let them in on the secret. I want others to experience what I have. Last Christmas, for office gifts, I gave my team some gift certificates to Prime Roast. Just a little something. I still hear about how I “turned them on” to one of Keene’s treasures.
I hope that I have “turned you on” to Prime roast, too!
Prime Roast is located in Central Square in Downtown, Keene.