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Who wants to cook? Let’s go out to eat. See where News-Herald staff members dined and where they go to unwind in our area. You might just find a new treasure in your own neighborhood.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hold The Coffee @ Erie Island Coffee in Rocky River

EDITOR’S NOTE: To read the latest posts on Simon’s coffee shop adventures, visit his blog at

In continuing my quest to visit signature coffee shops west of Interstate 77, I am dedicating this week's blog post to Erie Island Coffee in Rocky River.

Liz and I had a fun time composing a photo outside
while patrons were staring at us.
Erie Island is a roasting company with two locations: one on East 4th Street inside Cleveland's Gateway District and the other in Rocky River.

I've visited the East 4th location once in September to chit-chat and catch up with a Kent State friend, and just Saturday, Feb. 8, I had the pleasure of visiting the Rocky River location at 19300 Detroit Road. Another friend from Kent State had suggested the place a while back, and on that day I was driving across Cleveland to pick up my missing Windows Phone in Lakewood, so there was no sense in not driving a little farther west.

News-Herald journalist and colleague, Liz Lundblad, took time from her busy schedule and changing the world to join me for a humble cup of coffee. Despite buying Erie Island brand coffee at Heinen's before, this was her first trip to either location.

I am always sneaking photos like a ninja!
Location: Being my first time crossing the actual river that bears the same name, Rocky River definitely left an impression. I was expecting a more affluent Lakewood, but it came more across as a Beachwood with less frontal parking lots. All of the buildings looked like they were built sometime after the Y2K mania and purposed for single uses, mostly stores and eateries, including the area flush to Erie Island.

The coffee shop is built against the sidewalk, but sitting west of it is Beachcliff Market Square with a large parking lot plaza servicing stores such as Loft, Jos. A Bank, Urban Home and Garden and Mellow Yellow. Erie Island even has a drive-thru window to tie into the parking lot. Nevertheless, even with the lack of mixed-use residential buildings, most of the stores and eateries along Detroit Road are very pedestrian-friendly.

I did see some people drinking out of classy mugs.
I think the barista thought I was ordering to go.
Food and Beverage: Erie Island in Rocky River is a full-service cafe, offering a menu of soups, sandwiches, paninis and salads in addition to plenty of pastries to make a diabetic lose one or more toes.  (Upon editing this, my diabetic boyfriend, Matthew, said this was "offensive, but funny.")

On Saturday, while waiting for Liz, I ordered a 16-ounce cup of their signature coffee and a club crush panini for a little more than $8 and two quarters.

Best of all, refills at Erie Island are only 50 cents. That's very good news for people like myself who love camping out at coffee shops and exploiting their free WiFi.

Someone man the sail and fire the cannon!
Space and Atmosphere: Erie Island is definitely current and trend-conscious, whilst maintaining relevance to a wide patronage. It has a fire place in the center of its seating area, garage-style windows that lift up during the summer months, and artwork on sale along the walls.

Best of all, however, is the atrial ceiling on the west end of the shop. Beneath the glass are antique coffee bags patching up rays of sunlight, so as not to overwhelm any moody, Alt-English majors. It's a cool idea, and combined with the blue color scheme and walls of wooden tiles, it enhances the feeling that you're on a pirate ship. Pirates and coffee? Yes, it needs to happen.

Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.

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