The secret to a great cup of coffee is a bit more complicated than just opening a bag, can, jar or popping a plastic coffee pod into a countertop machine and hitting “brew.” My wife, Barb, and I visited the Grinder House Coffee Shop for lunch this past Saturday. Owner Asa Reese and co/owner and fiancée Angela Castin opened our eyes on how they create one cup at a time for a great coffee, one crafted meal at a time – be it breakfast, lunch and dinner, too!
Asa left the coal fields of West Virginia where he was a company surveyor to look for a great place to open a true family enterprise. The couple searched far and wide for a location. They saw the current Main Street location in Crossville, and since July 2017 have crafted and created what works, to make everyone entering their idea of a great food place a family member, too.
We sat on stuffed chairs, with a couch in front of a player piano, and Asa told us of the many music groups that perform each Friday night from 6-8 in the evening. Songwriters, balladeers, country western and Nashville groups love to visit Crossville and share their talents. Asa (name of a biblical king of Judah meaning “healer”) said that he is booked with artists every Friday night until December, and he has 45-50 reservations each of those nights from Plateau folks. You can BYOB it, and enjoy a non-raucous evening, “a mellow, relaxed – yet exciting time can be had, with personalities and good sociality, rubbing elbows with locals and talent too,” said Asa.
Coffee is in the Grinder House’s business name, and Vienna, Red Oak and BroBraat Coffee are ground fresh twice per day. Nicaraguan beans are Asa’s favorite for flavor and aroma. The Keto Roast they serve increases energy and cognitive thought. The Grinder House calibrates their grinder twice per day for the perfect ground bean consistency. When we tried their coffee – which is custom made to each person’s tastes, with additional flavors, be it espresso, regular, or Cappuccinos – we found out why people flock to the restaurant for breakfast “Joe.”
For lunch, besides tasting their Smokehouse Burger, topped with caramelized onions, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese on a tasty bun, and a Chicken and Bacon Flat Bread that Barb swooned over, we also tasted a breakfast biscuit and egg with buttermilk crafted gravy. The fresh buttermilk based gravy was eminently tasty, the biscuit right out of the oven. Craft beers are also available, and gourmet soups are so hearty that we can’t wait for a cold day to try them.
Top lunch off with New York cheesecake (we had Limoncello cake – lemony, creamy – just right!), pecan pie, any muffin or cookie that whets your lip; and for breakfast, warm, sweet whipped cream topped cinnamon rolls or scones to crow about.
The big deal here as we saw it, is that Asa said: “We use authentic, fresh, and as-local-as-possible ingredients.”
The Grinder is the place for what coffee should taste like.
We’ll be back again and again! Go into this beautiful edifice of warm brick and old-time tin deco-ceilings, and get a menu at 73 N Main St. Crossville. Call (931) 707-0440 or see them online at www.grinderhousecoffeeshop.com. They do special parties and cater, too. Open every day except Sunday. Prices: reasonable for us Tennesseans.
Note: periodically we will be checking in with some of the other great dining, meeting and greeting places around the area.
BY Bob Epstein
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