Monday, September 17, 2007

Grand Opening: CrimsonCup

Columbus’ newest cafe has its grand opening tomorrow. I know what you’re thinking -- CowTown needs another coffeehouse like the Arena District needs another trendy bar. But this is completely different.

This is CrimsonCup.

Known as a local behind-the-scenes beanery, CrimsonCup has supplied its own roasts and expertise to cafes and restaurants nationwide for 16 years and has grown from a small operation to a business with a 2006 revenue of nearly $5.5 million. But, believe it or not, never before has CrimsonCup hung its own name on a coffeehouse.

That changed a couple weeks ago, when the neon open sign was quietly switched on in the window of the former Household Bank/Cord Camera building at 4541 North High St., just north of Henderson Rd.

Located less than a block from a Panera, CrimsonCup will be competing with the likes of Caribou near the Whetstone library, the North Broadway Starbucks and the extremely popular Cup O Joe on the corner of Tulane and High. With all these coffee shops for people to choose from, what’s going to make CrimsonCup stand out?

Simple answer: The coffee. CrimsonCup is easily the best in the city. The flavor is excellent, the strength always perfect. Starbucks always tastes burnt and is so thick that it more like Guinness than java. Caribou coffee is characterless. Panera is (gasp!) stored in self-serve Thermoses. Yeesh. Cup O Joe is the closest, but doesn’t quite measure up.

But let’s face it, as the pervasiveness of Starbucks shows, people often don’t care as much as they should about the quality of their coffee. They look for convenience, they look for wi-fi, they look for a place where they can comfortably hang with friends -- the coffee at the coffeehouse ironically tends to take a back seat.

And at CrimsonCup, that would be a shame.

The atmosphere of the new cafe is pleasant enough. A nice livingroom-type setup is off to your left as you walk in. A flat-panel TV compliments the area and is particularly cool in the mornings to catch a few glimpes of the news while you sip that Americano. The outdoor patio lacks a bit of greenery, but is functional.

CrimsonCup has been teaching coffeehouse entrepreneurs how to do this for years. Now let’s see if they can pull it off themselves.

(Stop by or drive thru for $1 Grand Opening lattes and mochas tomorrow!.)

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