Java Stop - one of Turkey Town's first coffee shops. We hung out a lot there in high school. They also supported the local music scene. It's changed ownership several times over the years, but it is still open, and thriving, on the ground-level of what used to be the Dickens' Hotel on 3rd & Main. The owners are very friendly and community minded. At anytime you can find people of all ages and walks of life gathering there. The coffee is fabulous. The chai stinks.
Cafe Luna - another one of Squareville's older coffee shops located in a funky old house on the corner of 8th & Coffman. It has good chai (it's also the cheapest in town!), nice owners, and best of all, is open more hours than any other coffee shop in town. My favorite thing about Cafe Luna is that they welcome youth. This means there are often surly, tattooed teens smoking in the front yard; I wouldn't have it any other way. Controversy surrounding a local military recruiter trying to recruit teens at the coffee shop seems to have disippated, along with the recruiter.
Small Circle Imports - on Francis between 11th & 12th, this shop is run by an amazing woman who genuinely saw a need in the community and filled it. Small Circle has the best chai in town. It's homemade. When she heard I couldn't find good chai in New York, she sent me a packet of her spices and instructions on how to make it. I am forever in debt to her generosity. The store has lots of imported crap, including candles, incense, jewelry, and clothes that look like a blend of Polynesia and mid-Western mom. It appeals more to people of my mother's generation than teen shoppers, but young people are also welcome at Small Circle and are often found there as it is two blocks from the high school. NOTE: Small Circle is now under new ownership and has gone downhill.
Daily Bean - good coffee, terrible location at Main & 15th. My loyalties to the first four shops on the list, in addition to it's being at an inconvenient location, means that I rarely go to this shop. It is near a Christian bookstore, which influences it's clientelle. It is also next door to Squareville's only independant icecream shop. If they were smart they would expand their hours to match those of the icecream shop, and continue them into winter, long after the need for icecream has expired.
All Mirth and No Matter - this coffee shop is an extension of the California Actor's Studio, which has taken residence in a warehouse near the overpass by the post office. This shop is in nearest physical proximity to my house, but is almost never open. They have indifferent chai, and the owner didn't get my Shakespeare pun, almost guaranteeing that I will never go there again. Their company has offended an enormous percentage of the local arts community by claiming to be "Squareville's First Professional Theatre." That and the word "California" have almost destined it for failure, which is sad, because Squaresville needs more arts, not less, as a part of its community.
August Morning - on the corner of 4th & Main in a location that used to be Barro's, a coffee/sandwich shop that had the best pannini on the planet. (It also was a transvestite wig shop many years ago. The business, of course, sold wigs of all types to anyone who needed them, but they had a vibrant side business selling very large women's shoes, and enormous sequined gowns. Many people do not know that Squaresville has a rather large trans community, due in large part because people here are so conservative they will accept people as whatever gender they appear to be.) Sadly, the shop's current incarnation as a rather precious coffee emporium is not one of its better ones. This is a good place to take parents for lunch as it is the least funky and has the widest food offerings of all of Squareville's independant coffee shops. But it is not a place one would want to hang out with friends, play chess, or even read. It doesn't welcome loitering, the management is rather unfriendly, and the place gives off a cold, unwelcoming, vibe.
Gizzi's - Diagonally across the street from August Morning is Gizzi's, another independently owned coffee shop. I want to like Gizzi's, but I can't stand it. The coffee is indifferent and overpriced. The chairs are uncomfortable, the pastries are stale, and they are always playing horrible muzaky jazz. For some reason I also seem to run into truly unsavory types there. Despite it's definite yuppy vibe, the last time I was there we ended up sitting next to a guy who had white supremacist prison tatts all over his arms. Yuppies and Neo-Nazis attending the same coffee shop does not give me a good feeling about the place. However, whenever I have to have "coffee" with a grownup and want to ensure the meeting does not last long, Gizzi's is the place to go. NOTE: 'Gizzi's' is now known as 'Ziggi's'.
There are several other independent coffee locations in Squaresville, but they will have to wait for another time as they are in locations inconvenient to me. It seems amazing to me that a town our size can have so much great coffee, and so few good restaurants, but that is a subject for another day.