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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 23, 2014

Hold The Coffee @ Loop in Tremont

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

It should go without saying that my boyfriend, Matt, knows me very well. So well that he knows what my ideal Valentines date is without asking. (HINT: Think of the furthest thing away from Applebees.)

What a great sport! Matt never complains about
modeling in my low-angle storefront shots.
I have many ideal dates and one of them is adventuring around Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, disputably my favorite area of Northeast Ohio. It's walkable, has plenty of mixed-use buildings, a wide arrange of unique bars, restaurants, stores and... of course, coffee shops. And unlike other young, energetic areas I've visited such as Ohio City, University Circle and Detroit Avenue, Tremont offers a slower-pace environment that feels more like a neighborhood than a commuter destination.

Anyway, this post isn't dedicated to my love of Tremont; it's here to review a very awesome coffee shop along West 11th Street that also doubles as record and CD store. (Groundbreaking idea!)

Loop, at 2180 W. 11th St., was the final stop for our date after browsing literature and sipping wine at Vision Voice Books and stuffing carbs into our faces at Crust, both on Kenilworth Avenue.

Oooooh... I always get excited over coffee shops with
two floors.
Location: Considering I already spilled my heart out for Tremont, I'll just focus this section on the corner of West 11th Street and Fairfield Avenue. Like most of Tremont, Loop is weaved along mostly houses with a few eateries and retailers in the mix. But this area is far from Tremont's most vibrant pastures.

A few fenced parking lots are dotted along Fairfield Avenue, and many of the houses along both streets aren't as majestic as Tremont's historic reputation would make you believe. And despite all of that, the area has plenty of appeal. In fact, part of me thinks the sour spots add a layer of character to the intersection.

Talking about character, Matt and I had the pleasure of watching runners finish their course of Cupid's Undie Run across the street at South Side restaurant. (Sorry, I didn't shoot any photos of any of the runners.)

After choking down a Lemon Rosemary Chicken pizza
at Crust, Matt and I figured it would be wise to split
only one muffin this time. We were so proud of ourselves.
Food and Beverages: Loop aligns itself along with most coffee shops, serving primarily cookies, scones and muffins in addiction to its caffeinated beverages.

That Saturday, Matt and I ordered a coffee cake muffin, a 20-ounce double-shot espresso and a 16-ounce cup of coffee for $8 and change. The double-shot belonged to Matt, who was going to order Loop's Death Charge that contains three espresso shots. Luckily, he was talked out of it.

I don't typically do this, but I have to give Loop credit on its milk and sweetener stand. Unlike some other places I've visited, Loop offers unbleached sugar in addition to the conventional artificial stuff of Equal and Splenda. (I have yet to find a coffee shop that offers packets of natural Stevia.) More rare to see, they label their pictures with skim milk and half-and-half. It's always good to know what fluid I am pouring into my coffee without needing to bother the barista.

Matt had a fun time looking through Loop's music
collection, but he doesn't buy CDs often. He more
often rents them out at his local library.
Space and Atmosphere: If you're anything like my News-Herald colleague Andrew Cass, you probably skipped down to this section the second you read the phrase record and CD store. And unlike many of the bookstore-slash-coffee-shop combinations I've visited, Loop actually acts more like a half and half business. There's a few boxes and shelves on the coffee shop's first floor, and a far bigger library on its second floor. The second floor even has a station upstairs for patrons to listen to vinyl. Very cool.

The shop also offers very stellar work space for laptops. The first floor has outlets for almost every seat or stool available and its light-colored walls and ceiling lights provide plenty of illumination. (And yes, Loop like every coffee shop has free WiFi. No password needed either.)

Fun Fact: My first visit to Loop, pictured here,
is where I decided to start this coffee shop blog after some
encouragement from five of my News-Herald colleagues,
Amy, Andrew, Devon, Caitlin and Sam.
I now have 13 posts under my belt. Thank you, guys!
Loop also keeps artwork that's for sale mounted on its two-story wall.

Ironically enough, Matt and I learned Saturday that Loop had organized a special art walk for Valentines Day. It's a shame we missed it, but news at the News-Herald doesn't slow down on Valentines Day. For a plan B, Matt and I did spend Friday evening at our favorite Euclid bar, Paragon on Lake Shore Boulevard.

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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