Barista Nadia Dervish, of Forest Park, pours coffee for a customer at Counter Coffee on Madison Street in downtown Forest Park. | Alexa Rogals/Staff Photographer
What’s in a name? A more diversified business, hope the owners of the soon-to-be-minted Counter Coffee Bar and Lounge at 7324 Madison St., currently known as Counter Coffee.
Co-owners Jayne Ertel and Heidi Vance, the duo behind neighboring Team Blonde, hope to replace Counter Coffee’s sign soon, to reflect the business’ extended hours, and new menu and drink options.
“We just had enough people put a bug in our ears that it would be great to have music here,” Ertel said. ” Madison Street doesn’t have this type of thing.”
The type of thing Ertel’s talking about is a music lounge. After four years as a coffee shop, Counter diversified, adding a jazz club on Nov. 10, serving drinks, small plates and extending the hours so people can enjoy the live music. Longtime friends and accomplished pianists Mark Burnell and wife Anne rippled the keys as some 50 attendees munched flatbread and sipped wine.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Counter will now remain open until 10 p.m. and feature live entertainment. There is no cover charge, but customers have a two-drink minimum. Diners can choose from eight wines, five craft beers and one brand of hard cider.
Counter also has added two varieties of flatbread, six different cheese boards and charcuterie to its menu. Diners can build their own cheese and meat boards. The duo plans to rotate food and drink options seasonally, or if customers began requesting something new.
“We like to become good at one thing and make sure we’re not spreading ourselves too thin before adding more things to our business,” Ertel said. “We also want to look for the niche space, and not step on anyone else’s toes. This isn’t what everybody else is doing on Madison Street. We want to be a little different from a business perspective.”
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