Friday, June 26, 2009

Local Love Fridays: The Coffee House Creamery Family


Talus, Natalie, Sophie and Toren Park

I sat down with Natalie Park, owner of the Coffee House Creamery, and talked about family.

Family permeates everything about the Coffee House Creamery, and that's one of the reasons I love it so. It is truly a spot, as the old Cheers theme song goes, "Where everybody knows your name".

"One thing that sets us apart is the service – the staff is really good. I just got a really nice compliment from a former business owner who talked about how great the service is and I passed it via e-mail to all my employees – we have really good coffee, really good food, really good ice cream, but it’s the face at the counter that brings people in." This was Natalie's response when I asked her what makes Coffee House Creamery different from the myriad other coffeehouses in Ann Arbor, and what she said couldn't be more true.

The thing is, Coffee House Creamery does have great coffee, fresh, local baked goods, and lovely ice cream - there's no stinting on quality here, but it is the fact that the Park family opens up their hearts to the community that really makes this place special.

One of the points of starting Coffee House Creamery was so that Natalie, a former teacher, would be more available to her children, Sophie, 8 and Toren, 10. What she ended up with was extended family through her group of very loyal customers. This week her husband, Talus, was out of town, and she ended up going out to dinner with a seventy-six-year-old regular who's become an extended part of the Park family, and spent the evening with a couple of her employees on another night. How many folks do you know who like to hang out with their boss outside of work hours?

In addition to the warm family atmosphere, this place has serious coffee drink chops. I was delighted to see my favorite drink from Italy, espresso con panna, on the menu. This is the only place I've found it other than North Beach in S.F. or Little Italy in NYC. And it completely rocks - perfect, smooth, European-style espresso with freshly made whipped cream.



Natalie and Talus went to Barista school to perfect their technique, Talus, an engineer, designed and built their coffee filtration system, which is perfectly balanced so that the coffee is soft, but not flat, and they have their own custom roast espresso by Magnum roasters of Nunica, Michigan. Another coffee treat that has become a huge hit with the regulars is their special "Blueberry Crumble" blend from Magnum.



For those of you with less caffeine-generated tastes (and possibly with a gaggle of small children), the 24 flavors of Hershey's premium ice cream are certainly enticing after a night at the movies (Coffee House Creamery is just opposite Quality 16 at the edge of the parking lot there). Natalie and Talus picked out Hershey's as their store brand because, for them, the taste takes them back to their childhoods in West Virginia. With Hershey, Pennsylvania being just a short distance over the border, this is truly a taste from the past. There are some amazing flavors here - D and I are particularly addicted to the Gold Medal, and recent special flavors have included Red Velvet and Mint Moose Tracks (which is to die for, truly). And what six-year-old can't be coaxed into a smile at the thought of a Superman cone?



There are also wonderful baked goods, made by Natalie, as well as Barry Bagels, home cooked oatmeal, several sandwiches, and a soup of the day.



And you can always play a game or two.



So the next time you need a cooling off from the summer's heat, or just want to get to know one of the friendliest places in Ann Arbor, I'd recommend my favorite hangout.

Cheers!
Coffee House Creamery, 3780 Jackson Road, Located directly in front of the Quality 16 Movie Theater. 734-222-0555 - M - Th - 7:00 - 10:00, Fri. 7:00 - 11:00, Sat. 8:00 - 11:00, Sun 10:30 - 9:00.

Also, for a fascinating look at Superman ice cream and its Michigan connections, see the wonderful new blog The Mitten.



31 comments:

Lilacspecs said...

If I'm ever in Ann Arbor I'll look for it :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Lilac - Well, you'll just have to come visit, then!

anno said...

The CHC is a lovely & gracious place. So glad to see it featured here!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Thanks, Anno - I really think it's just a fabulous, family-oriented spot.

Goofball said...

sounds like a wonderful place...ok I'm coming over

Brittany Noel said...

Oh man! I really want to come by now. Sounds like a great place to be. That's the thing I love best about working at a coffeeshop: the people you meet and come to know. I can't walk anywhere in Plymouth without seeing, and stopping to talk to, one of my regulars. It really does feel like an extended family, and until I worked there I hadn't felt quite settled into Plymouth.

Acedog said...

Sounds like the next time I'm in Kalamazoo I need to make the drive over to Ann Arbor!

Kate said...

Thanks for the peek inside! Once I get my laptop, maybe I'll visit it for an espresso con panna while writing.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Goofball - you know you're welcome any time.

Brittany - that was what Natalie was saying.

Acedog - or better yet, come have coffee with Anno and me.

Kate - I've done that - it's a lovely place to work.

Charity said...

Dude! I so want to go there. If I start driving now ... how long do you think it will take.

Seriously, if I ever come to A2, you'll have to show me where this is.

Karen Olson said...

It's so not fair showing me a wonderful place that I can't get to! I'll have to go to Ann Arbor sometime.

Jackie @PhamFatale.com said...

aww It always makes me happy to see good family values. It might sound silly but sharing a meal together, interacting with your family even when it just comes to food is important. Lovely post!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Charity, it might be a bit of a drive, but I'd love it if you came to visit! It's definitely a wonderful coffee house. And K and A would love the ice cream.

Karen - good idea! We have plenty of room.

Jackie - I absolutely agree. I think sharing meals makes for a great family bonding experience.

Los Angelista said...

I want to go there. I have to friends in Ann Arbor... maybe I should make the drive to say hi.

Bren said...

you won't believe me, but just earlier tonight, as i'm visiting the local bar (to have a sippy sip), the lady beside me tells me i should write up the resto b/c it's truly one of those 'hood places where everybody knows your name! no lie. So, I'm glad to read that every town, city, 'hood, has a special place like that. That it's coffee, makes it much more special! Can't we plan a culinary tour for me to come out there! I'd do it some serious justice in the 3 mags I write for! ;)

Ivy said...

The Coffee House sounds amazing. I wish there was a place like this near my house.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, Liz, if you were able to come out, that would be great! I know some other great spots, too, and I'd love to meet you.

Bren - I agree - that kind of thing is so important. Growing up in NYC it was the pizza place around the corner for us kids and there were a couple of neighborhood bars like the one you describe, for the adults.

Ivy - is there something similar? I know that friends who lived in Greece talked about Tavernas (?) near them. Would that make sense? Please excuse my ignorance on the word or concept.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great place! When the service is perfect and the food/drinks are delicious, then that's wonderful...

Cheers,

Rosa

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I agree, Rosa!

Virtualsprite said...

We have a place like this, too. I love it there. The owner is just fun and the food is great and she buys all the coffee from local roasters. So much fun!

I'm so glad you're doing this series. Now I'll have a file of places to visit if we ever cross Lake Michigan. :-)

Luisa Perkins said...

What a beautiful family! AA sounds more and more like heaven.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Virtual - it's wonderful to have places like this. There is another family business that I'll be highlighting in the next few weeks that's a family-oriented gaming store.

Luisa - it's certainly a nice place to live - that's for certain!

Mariposa said...

Can I time travel now?! Gosh...YUM!

Shiona said...

This made coffee look really good :) I would definitely go for the sweet treats though .

Momisodes said...

Looks like a warm and cozy place. And everything looks delicious!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Mariposa - I wish you could - I'd love to get a cup of coffee with you.

Shiona, I have to say, those sweet treats are very good, especially the muffins, IMHO.

Momisodes - it's truly a lovely spot.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

The Coffee House Creamery sounds like a divine establishment. Your blog made me long for the days when I used to own my own family-run coffee house. Thanks!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Elizabeth, thanks so much for visiting here. What was your coffeehouse like? I've always thought that would be a wonderful thing to do.

Brian Miller said...

this looks like an amazing place. i will be the one downing the cafeinated dark stuff. my fam are the vultures circling the frozen goodness. ok, i'm hungry now. smiles.

Talus Park said...

Thanks Jen for this wonderful post. Some of your readers may have noticed that our web page has been down for the last couple of days. I have been working for what seems like months on the new Coffee House Creamery web site. After a few glitches, I finally got it launched. Check it out at
www.coffeehousecreamery.com

Thanks again!

Talus

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Brian - I'm with you on the caffeinated stuff!

Talus, thanks for bringing that to my attention - I can't wait to see it!