The Local Coffee Shop

When I moved to Fillmore Street in January the first thing I needed to find was a local coffee shop. I would have settled for a Starbucks, I suppose, but I'm more inclined to find the independent shop. Much to my surprise, although I live on a pretty quiet part of Fillmore, just about 30 feet from my apartment sits Fillmore Grind. When I first visited, I was a bit turned off. The place is very unkempt, flies are usually buzzing around and the food and coffee are certainly not well organized. Then I met the owner, Mike. For the first six months or so of visiting Fillmore Grind, I didn't know his name was Mike. But I recently got the name.

Given the rush to get to work, I usually only visit Fillmore Grind on Saturday's and Sunday's. Whenever I walk in, Mike immediately knows what I want: large coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes. It's $3.75 total, but Mike would likely let me pay whatever I had on me. The music's often pretty loud, and it's always unpredictable. One day he'll be playing the local rock station, while the next he'll be blasting strange but melodic Arabic music. He often dances a little bit.

Mike's probably in his early sixties, if not a bit older. The locals seem to love him. When he didn't show up a few Sunday's ago and the gates outside remained unlocked, the local convenience store owner seemed concerned. But Mike returned on Monday. I asked him if everything was alright, to which he replied, "I was just tired. I'm not making enough money." Less than five seconds later, he had turned up the music and was doing his little dance.

Yesterday I walked in and studied the place to try and think of some possible improvements. I told Mike to move the pastries to a more visible area. He agreed and let me move them beside the cash register. I also noticed that Mike had English Muffins and eggs sitting in refrigerator. "Hey Mike, you should offer egg sandwiches", I said cautiously. "Really? Do you think people would buy them? What should I charge?"

This morning I walked in and Mike was ready. "English muffin, egg, cheese and tomato", he said. Mike knows that I'm trying to cut down on meat. He proceeded to warm up an egg and toss a muffin with cheese and tomato into the toaster oven. While I sampled some of the newspapers, Mike asked me to come behind the counter. He opened up the toaster oven and asked, "Done?" "Yup, perfect", I replied.

As he handed me my breakfast he asked, " much?" "Ummm, I'd charge $3.00 for this and $3.50 if they add meat." Mike didn't hesitate and took my money. "Will you write this on the board for me when I get chalk tomorrow?" Although I've never stopped in on a weekday, it looks like tomorrow will be an exception.