Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cup of Java and chat...

I've been wanting to do a story about one of my favorite coffee houses in the city, The Vault Coffee and Tea Bar, for quite some time. After all, I'm usually in there two to three mornings a week when I'm not on location catching up on the latest gossip, discussing Sirius radio, Howard Stern, new music, and Kevin Smith movies with Brad Richards, the manager of the shop.
When you are a one man biz like myself, it's important to get out and mingle. Otherwise, I'd climb the walls from lack of social interaction.

Why the Vault? First, they serve the best damn coffee around. They use Orinoco beans, ground fresh and use Ghiradelli bittersweet cocoa in my skim mocha latte. No Hershey's corn syrup that is called "chocolate" found here. All their drinks are poured with precision and made with extra care. Great pride is taken in the presentation and ingredients. The mocha that I photographed, isn't a "special" drink made for photography, it is what their drink actually looks like every pour (even in a "to go" cup!) Coffee mugs are pre heated to avoid cooling down their drinks that are served at the optimum temperature (match that Starbucks...) It's a true joy to see utilitarian food and beverage served and created with pride which is so rare these days.

The baked in-house pastries and vegetarian lunches are super yummy and made with the freshest ingredients.
A comfy lounge, with plenty of music and design industry magazines along with an art gallery make for a relaxed visit.
And they have tons of signs. Neat signs. Signs I want to photograph that bring a smile to my face everytime I see them. One of Brad's heros is film maker Kevin Smith. He loves Kevin's sarcastic sense of humor as much as I do. The Vault has smart ass baristas much like Clerks, only with service that is more like the Ritz!

One more thing...try to get there every September 12th for Johnny Cash day. Johnny is played non-stop all day long on the shop sound system. All the baristas (Brad, Drew, Matt, and Damon) wear black. But...the fun part is whenever June Carter joins in song. That's when everyone (baristas and customers)stop whatever they are in the middle of doing and down a shot of Makers Mark Bourbon. Let me tell 7AM this game can get addictive and starts your morning with a smile on your face!
Brad tells me he would like to have more "dead people" days as they are great crowd pleasers. I'm with you on that one Brad!

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