Thursday, February 02, 2006

Good In-Ten-tions - the Ten Cup Coffee House

I met with a couple people yesterday at the Ten Cup* - a new coffee house in the shops at 59th and Holmes. If you're wondering "what shops at 59th and Holmes?", well, that's one of the challenges the place is going to face. The shops have been home to a few decent restaurants and boutique-y type shops, but nothing has ever seemed to last there, because neither 59th nor Holmes at that point is exactly a well-traveled thoroughfare. The intersection of two lane roads in a part of town most people have never visited and most wrongly assume is a "bad" nieghborhood** is not an auspicious place to start a business that relies on a high volume of customers forking over under $5 each.

But, that said, any business that locates east of Main and is locally-owned gets my emotional support.

Speaking of support, the most innovative thing the Ten Cup is doing is dividing ten percent of their quarterly profits among ten local charities. It's a nice gimmick, and I hope it works for them. Presumably, the ten charities will spread the word among their constituents, and the Ten Cup gets nearly-free publicity. Given the tenuous profitability of a coffee shop in a questionable location, I doubt the charities will be getting big checks.

The space is nice, in a cozy, earth-tone style, and the walls carry cosy, earth-tone paintings for sale in case some caffeine-crazed customer with poor immpulse control decides that s/he simply must have a boring painting for the home. The furniture is nice and comfy,though there's not too much of it. If the place gets busy, that could be an issue, but it's not a problem yet.

When I go to a coffee shop, I'm there for the coffee, and the coffee was very good. By very good, I mean way up there with the best in town - better than Starbucks, and comparable to the Broadway Cafe and the Roasterie. The food looked good, but, again, I'm there for the coffee. One of my companions had a chocolate muffin covered with shiny, dripping ganache that she pronounced "pretty good" but not near as good as the cookie she had there a few days before.

To sum up, I think the place deserves some support, but I'm not optimistic that it will get it. I'm ever-so-slightly uncomfortable with charities lending their names to a business for what is likely to be small or no return, but, on the other hand, it seems like a nice, community-oriented business, and what's the harm?

*No website yet. How somebody starts a business that relies on word-of-mouth publicity without having a website up and running a month or so before the business opens escapes me . . .

**It's not a bad neighborhood, but, in the twin interests of full disclosure and passing on a funny anecdote, a lawyer buddy of mine used to live within a stone's throw of the place about a decade ago. One morning, he went out to go to work only to find that vandals had rolled his Acura over onto its roof. Comedy gold - I wish I could have seen his face. He moved to Johnson County, and tripled his commute.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must comment in order to voice my ardent support for The Ten Cup. I went on Sunday after church just to check the place out. I was delightfully surprised with the warm friendly service, cozy atmosphere, and feel-good vibe of the place. I had a wonderful cup of coffee, a to-die-for breakfast sandwich on a homemade biscuit, and shared a cinnemon streusel cupcake for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now. Everything I had was fantastic. I loved the fresh flowers on each table and wood-panelled walls. I agree, the art left something to be desired, but I can only assume that means that the restaurant's resources were needed elsewhere. While there, I took the time to read over information about the various charities supported by the coffee house. The charities were well-selected and very deserving charities, covering a broad variety of community needs. If anything, these charities will gain some exposure, if not that much money out of the deal. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!

3/21/2006 10:05 AM  
Blogger mamagotcha said...

Hi! I'm working on their website right now... come by and check it out:

and thanks for the kind words!

5/15/2006 10:08 PM  

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