Monthly Archives: April 2019

10 Things to Do in an Independent Coffee Shop on #IndieCoffeeShopDay

It’s here! It’s here! It’s Indie Coffee Shop Day 2019! Time to visit your favorite independent coffee shop and support your local business owners and local economy.

The Bridge Cafe 04If you’re wondering what you can do while you’re at an independent coffee shop, here are 10 things you can do while you enjoy a hand-crafted beverage.

  1. Visit with a friend.
  2. Sit silently and ruminate on the wonders of life.
  3. Write in a notebook.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Write a book.
  6. Plan your visit for Record Store Day tomorrow.
  7. Get pissed and grouse about how they moved Record Store Day to last week, and you didn’t hear about it because you were on the road. (Am I the only one who did this? Really? Just me? Okay, then.)
  8. Get some work done.
  9. Pretend you’re getting some work done. (We all know you’re cruising Facebook.)
  10. Seriously, no one thought to tell me about Record Store Day? I was really looking forward to it!

Z Beans Coffee

It’s a magical time to go into an independent coffee shop near a college when it’s empty, and you pretty much have to do it first thing in the morning.

Z Beans coffee on a Sunday morning. Thinking about Indie Coffee Shop Day. I found myself at Z Beans coffee in Macon, Georgia, early Sunday morning on my way home from speaking tour in Indiana. (That’s where I found the bridge in Upland.)

Z Beans is located near Mercer university, and it’s difficult to get to. Not impossible, but this isn’t your right-off-the-exit Starbucks. It’s definitely your destination points, not a quick stop.

The great thing about being at a coffee shop near a university is that it’s nearly empty on a Sunday morning. So I was able to easily find a seat, get my coffee quickly, and rest a little bit. I imagine this place gets pretty noisy when it’s filled with college to study for class, but there are plenty of outlets and plenty of seats.

We’re less than a week from #IndieCoffeeShopDay, so I wanted to discover one last independent coffee shop on my trip. Remember to visit your favorite independent coffee shop with a friend, and ponder what you’re going to get at Record Store Day the next day.

The Bridge Cafe — Upland, IN

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Can you fall in love with a coffee shop?

I hope so, because I have a new coffee shop love: The Bridge Cafe in Upland, Indiana, about an hour between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, right there on State Road 22. It’s just a few minutes north of Taylor University, the small private Christian college in Grant County. It’s about 30 minutes away from where I grew up in Muncie, Indiana.

The Bridge Cafe 01

I returned to Indiana for a small speaking tour, visiting Evansville (and Honey Moon Coffee), Indianapolis (Hubbard & Cravens), Muncie (The Cup), and now Upland and this place.

I believe a man or woman can have many loves in their life, at least when it comes to coffee shops. I love Hubbard & Cravens because it’s where I first learned about the coffee culture. I love Vespr coffee because the baristas have become friends. I love Bee Coffee Roasters because I’m convinced BJ Davis knows more about coffee than anyone in Indianapolis.

And now I love The Bridge Cafe because it’s a small shop in a small town that is quintessentially Indiana. I grew up in Indiana, it’s where my heart lies, and I am pulled northward every couple years to visit and recharge.

The Bridge Cafe 02I found the place on a quintessentially Indiana spring day — it’s gray and a bit rainy, the wind is blowing from the west — and I’m flooded with waves of nostalgia. I had breakfast here, and when I had a few free hours in the day, I came back to sit and soak in it.

The coffee is great, and I’m on my second latte. They serve tea, pastries, and even breakfast and lunch. I met Cathy, the owner, and we talked social media marketing for a little while, and how they’re attracting college students by Instagramming photos of their food, and they sell care packages to Taylor students during finals week, or sharing photos of their play area on Pinterest to bring in the moms with young kids.

The Bridge Cafe 04

Upland is most known for Ivanhoe’s Drive-In, an Indiana landmark when it comes to ice cream, milkshakes, and sundaes. The Bridge is within walking distance of Ivanhoe’s, and it’s about 5 minutes from I-69.

Look, I know there’s a Starbucks right off the Interstate, but if you want some good coffee and want to support an independent coffee shop, take just five minutes — five minutes! — on your next road trip to come over here. Take exit 259, and turn east. Follow the road around the curve, and keep an eye out for The Bridge Cafe, next to the McClure’s gas station. It’s literally five minutes away.

When you’re trying to make good time, focus more on the good than on the time, and swing by The Bridge Cafe for some of the best coffee in this little corner of the world.

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