Starbucks coffee is too strong for me. Industrial strength, I'm not sure what it's intended for. Stripping the paint off old buildings. Or maybe I drink too much coffee to be its target customer. I like a coffee I can drink in volume. One cup of Starbucks and not only don't I want another cup for a day or two, but the entire idea of coffee is thrown into question. I only go there if I'm meeting someone who suggests meeting in a particular Starbucks, and half the time I get a cup of tea. Drinking Starbucks coffee, it's like a wine connoisseur drinking a bottle of Thunderbird; too overpowering and destroys an experience that should be sublime.
Then there is the whole drink-it-and-get-out corporate vibe the place radiates. I can't settle in with my coffee and scone and newspapers and just be. It seems rude, with the line and the other people prowling around, looking for a place to sit themselves. Starbucks is like Whole Foods, a stage set of expensive fakery that many people fall for. And I used to fall for, years ago, if I recall. I suppose it's like McDonald's. Cool, during the initial red and white tile new stage. Now it's just commerce.
Small coffee shops, on the other hand—independents, or modest chains—that's a different matter. They still have personality, soul, gumption. When I was living on Pine Grove and Oakdale, I'd love to walk up Broadway and hang out in Intelligensia or, if I was up in Evanston, sink into one of the old cast-off chairs at Kaffeine. Maybe that isn't fair: they're commercial too, just on a tinier, small ball scale. Maybe that's why I prefer them: a certain kinship.
Or this place. Quirky, with a resident ... well, I guess I better not say, lest I give away the game too easily. This one will probably be cracked in a moment by one of its patrons, who as a prize will get a bag of fine Bridgeport coffee—the kind I drink at home, and also the brand served at The Grind, the coffee stand in the Northbrook train station, which is where I discovered it.
Remember to place your guesses below. Good luck.
This was a toughie, not solved until an unprecedented 2:13 p.m., and it took the sleuthing of King Dale, the Tiger Woods of the Saturday Fun Activity and now our four-time champion to ID this place as the Jupiter Outpost, 1139 W. Fulton Market. The resident I almost revealed is an "urban turtle" named Phoebe.