The Coffee Shop Cafe
Meet Our September Featured Business: The Coffee Shop Cafe
For the better part of the last decade, 12 Main Street in Seal Harbor has been at the heart of the village. Feeding and caffeinating year-round and summer residents alike, Terri Hanson started The Coffee Shop Cafe in the wake of the Village Market’s closing to meet the need for food, beverages, and conversation in this quiet neighborhood of MDI. For much of that time the shop was run by Dennis Savarin, Terri’s brother, until he passed away after battling illness for several years. Now back under the supervision of Terri and her husband Jim, The Coffee Shop Cafe serves as a living tribute to the importance of family and community. Read on to learn more about this one-of-a-kind year-round, local business!
When you walk into this cozy space you leave your surname at the door. Everyone is greeted by their first name alone, because here this saying applies: “strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.” It wasn’t a deliberate decision, not a contrived strategy to force a false sense of welcome on unwitting customers. For Terri, this business is personal so the welcome comes naturally. When you address everyone informally, from the laborer to the senator, you create a communal space that is welcoming to all. Such is the culture at The Coffee Shop Cafe.
Entering the Cafe in summer is a different sensory experience from entering in winter, but the warmth of community is present year-round. “You won’t walk out without having talked to a local,” is the way Terri and Jim describe it. That intimacy is partly due to its small size – seating more than a dozen customers at a time is a challenge but also prompts introductions and conversations that might not otherwise take place. Terri takes pride in being an impartial ear for anyone having a hard day. She respects their privacy without sharing those stories with others, so as to stymie any small town gossip that could have a corrosive effects on the community.
The Coffee Shop Cafe menu changes with the seasons but baking is always done on site. Summertime brings an expanded menu of salads and sandwiches, often with produce delivered straight from local gardens. Ingredients are organic and sustainable whenever possible to keep the Cafe’s offerings healthy enough that customers can eat there every day. There are also pre-made meal options for people on gluten-free or paleo diets alongside the pizza slices and paninis.
In the winter the oven and other kitchen equipment serve as the Cafe’s heat source! Beginning in October, soups bubble away each morning and steam up the windows in the colder weather. The fresh salads and subs go into hibernation but the oven keeps cranking out muffins, brownies, cookies, and other baked treats. The panini press also runs all winter to supply toasted, melty goodness.
This winter, for the first time, The Coffee Shop Cafe will be offering delivery to locations in Bar Harbor and Mount Desert. The idea is to meet the demand for a delicious, fresh meal that doesn’t require one to spend the entire lunch break in the car. Weekly specials will be posted to Facebook, as usual, so be sure to follow their page for updates and to place your order!