By Maggie Phillips
In this issue, I wrote an article about newly opened or reopened restaurants on CSU’s campus. In an effort to become more informed about the subject matter, I visited each business I wrote about. This was mostly because I love any excuse to eat good breakfast foods, but was also to scope out their menus and get a feel for each store’s environment.
After leaving my final destination, I found myself wondering about the future of these local businesses if we go into another lockdown. Erie Island Coffee Co. had just reopened, and I felt a strong sense of nostalgia as I walked out of the same coffee shop I had regularly attended before the pandemic struck.
With the mocha I had just ordered in my hand, I continued to walk down Euclid Avenue. I passed the Starbucks on East 14th Street and watched as customer after customer walked in and out of its doors. This made me wonder, how has business stayed consistent here throughout the entirety of the pandemic while local coffee shops, like the one I just visited, struggled to even reopen?
Don’t get me wrong, I often succumb to the ease and reliability of corporate America. For some reason, I continue to buy pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks instead of walking a few extra blocks for an equally delicious drink from Cafe Ah-Roma.
I know not everyone has the ability to shop locally and support their favorite small businesses. Sometimes prices can be higher and service can be less efficient, taking more time out of your already busy day. However, if you’re already going to spend $4.00+ on a hot drink, why not try the family-owned café in your neighborhood instead? We know Starbucks and other giant corporations are going to survive the pandemic, but the smaller shops and chains owned by our fellow community members may not.
In this time of confusion and hardship, I urge everyone to seek out these valuable community businesses that keep our neighborhoods afloat. Instead of listening to insincere corporate advertisements repeating the same platitudes motivated by their own monetary interests, support those who actually care about you and the place you live.
For your convenience, I’ve made a list of local restaurants in the downtown/campus area. There are plenty of other options out there, this is just a list based on my own personal taste and experiences.
Coffee: Cafe Ah Roma, Erie Island Coffee Co., Fahey Bakehouse, Phoenix Coffee Co., Rising Star Coffee Roasters
Other Breakfast: Bon Appetit, N’Joy, Koko Bakery
Lunch and Dinner: Bombay Chaat, Cassa, Dave’s Cosmic Subs, Otani Noodle, Sittoo’s, Souper Market, Sung’s House, U Jerk
Ice Cream: Cathy’s Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches