I just stumbled into one of the busiest coffee shops in the city. The place is called Grateful Grind Coffee, and according to the young guy squeezed next to me at the window bar seating area, it’s an awesome place with great coffee and food. He said that he just finished eating a delicious taco, which alone is kind of interesting – a coffee shop that sells yummy tacos.
When I first walked in, it took me about 15 minutes to place my order (a cup of coffee), which was fine because everyone in line was in good spirits. So was the owner, Angela Kunz, who was busy scrambling between the counter and the kitchen – a one woman show in the front of the house.
As I sipped my coffee, I paid attention to the chatter in the room. I soon learned that the owner was trying to secure parking in the neighborhood. The lack of parking was an issue with some of the clients, although the place was absolutely packed, so it appears that a designated parking area would only exasperate the fight for tables. The guy next to me chirped in that he felt that the café was sorely needed in the University Heights neighborhood because there was really no other coffee house around (which is strange, but true, unless you count Amy’s Place which is more like a diner). He also told me that he heard that the coffee was roasted regionally (in Springville), which was another nice touch.
Grateful Grind Coffee will supply fair trade, organic, using sustainable products when possible. We will roast mindfully to ensure your coffee is the very best, using single origin and meticulously blended combinations to satisfy the most distinguished palate.
The interior of Grateful Grind Coffee is really nice. It’s clean and rustic. The menu items are all chalked out. There are tin ceilings, lots of wood detail that looks to be reclaimed (barn wood and pallet walls), and some sound dampening oversized tile flooring. The place is put together extremely well, especially because originally they had a blank shell to work with (or worse).
I noticed that there was no music playing, which in this setting was fine, because there was a quite a din in the room (around 1:45pm). It was easy to tell that all aspects of the shop were thought out, right down to the little baskets filled with hot sauce, mustard and salt and pepper shakers. So I figured that the lack of music was intended.
Grateful Grind Coffee – A Community Café
As far as the yummies, the café doles out coffee, tea, kombucha, local birch beer, beet root or turmeric lattes, Nitro coffee and tacos! They also have pastries, cookies, burgers, paninis, Reubens, shrimp po-boys, wraps, veggie burgers and breakfast sandwiches. It sounded like every other order was for a breakfast sandwich, which makes sense due to the close proximity to University at Buffalo (South Campus). And did I mention tacos… pork belly, chicken, shrimp and black bean. There’s just about every coffee drink that you can imagine.
The University District deserves to have such a fabulous café in its midst… and all of a sudden the music pops on, and it’s a jam band playing. Perfectly timed entrance with the tunes – I’m now having flashbacks of my own college days.
While there are no bike lanes at this section of Main Street (shame on the City), the sidewalks are extra wide. And while cycling on a sidewalk is illegal, what the heck are the options? There are no bike racks yet, but I can only imagine that they are coming. Hopefully a small patio is also coming too, now that the nice weather is upon us. I have a feeling that Grateful Grind Coffee will be a longstanding institution in Buffalo. Hopefully the owners and patrons will rally for urbanist changes in this district, much the ways other coffee shops have managed to affect change in other parts of the city.