One of the greatest comforts I have ever known is a cup of coffee. Any time of day, any place. A little cream, a little sugar. If I have that in my hand, I’ll feel at home.
Luckily, there are a number of places in Winston-Salem dedicated to this fine art, and that number continues to grow. In the past two years alone, multiple coffee shops have popped up around town—especially in downtown—each distinctly separate from the last. Whether elaborate and elegant, cozily quaint, or full of inspired baked goods, all are driven by a common desire to serve the community, one cup at a time.
Camel City Coffee
This past November, a friend and I were some of the first to show up at Camel City Coffee on its opening morning, grabbing lattes and seats by a window to catch up before work.
Walking through the doors of the full-service coffee shop, which shares its space with Tart Sweets Bakery, is like stepping back in time. The elevated ceilings decorated with chandeliers, the soothing robin’s egg blue walls, and sturdy, elegant furniture encourage you to slow down, take a seat, and enjoy the present moment.
The coffee shop resides in the historic 1909 Rosenbacher House, hallmarked by its grand Corinthian columns and neo-classical revival design. Designated as a Forsyth County Local Historic Landmark, the house is one of the most elegant along a stretch of West End homes formerly known as Millionaires’ Row. It was formerly home to Michael’s Restaurant.
“We fell in love with this house,” says Chelsea Tart, co-owner of Camel City Coffee, “and in many ways rebranded ourselves around its classical, historical aesthetic.”
Tart, who founded Tart Sweets while in college, always knew she wanted to add a coffee bar. With limited space at the bakery’s original location on Hawthorne Road, expansion required a new location. Now she and her mother, Lynn Tart, run the coffee shop and bakery together in the new location.
Open six days a week, Camel City Coffee offers coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, as well as baked goods, including Tart Sweets’ famed macarons. The shop relies on beans from Oregon-based Case Coffee Roasters, a decision made after some blind taste testing.
By mid-February, Tart will be expanding the shop’s menu to offer sandwiches and boxed lunches, giving guests another reason to drop by and relax midday. And by spring, Tart plans to have the shop’s tearoom in operation.
Catching up with my friend that first morning, we stop to observe the long line of Camel City Coffee newcomers stretching out the coffee bar’s doors.
All of us are curious about this place, in awe of its beauty, and eager to support the owners working so hard to bring about something new.
Camel City Coffee and Tart Sweets are at 848 W Fifth St. For hours, specials and more, visit facebook.com/tartsweets.
Twin City Hive
When I lived in West Salem a couple years ago and worked from home, I was grateful to discover a coffee shop was opening up less than a mile from my house.
Twin City Hive, which opened in March 2014, is stationed in one of my favorite spots in Winston-Salem. On the outskirts of downtown, the coffee shop sits across the street from Meridian Restaurant, kitty-corners The Flour Box (formerly Ollie’s Bakery), and is a short walk from Old Salem. As small shops continue to pop up around the area, it’s apparent that little corner of Winston-Salem is on the rise.
Celebrating its two-year anniversary in March, Twin City Hive will have expanded its storefront on Brookstown Avenue by the time this issue goes to print, tripling its seating. With backgrounds in coffee and tourism, co-owners Joey Burdette and Terry Miller are excited to continue growing their award-winning business, dedicated to “all things local.”
Unlike many coffee shops in town, Twin City Hive only brews coffee roasted in North Carolina. Each of the coffees served have been carefully curated, with roasters ranging from Durham-based Counter Culture to Mooresville-based Black Powder Roasting. Stop in for coffee, and you’ll notice the shop serves up desserts from Tart Sweets, Black Mountain Chocolate, and Brasstown Chocolate. Local wildflower honey from Tate’s Apiaries is for sale, as are packages of Chad’s Chai & Tea. The Hive also stocks postcards from beloved local designers such as Em Dash Paper Co.
The new location, with more space for seating and business, is set to become a lounge—a relaxed, comfortable space for catching up, slowing down, and enjoying a cup. It will be open seven days a week with hours throughout the day.
Expansion aside, Miller and Burdette are looking forward to furthering Twin City Hive’s own line of home goods. Miller describes the process behind creating candles that smell distinctly like the tobacco your grandfather might have smoked, or the ginger snap cookies you find every winter in Old Salem—products tied deeply to memory, rooted in the place we call home.
Twin City Hive is at 301 Brookstown Ave. For hours, products, specials, and updates on their new location, go to twincityhive.com.
MORE TO TRY
Need more buzz? Try these other coffee shops that recently opened downtown.
Barista Cooperative: Coffee and hops? That’s what you’ll find at this new spot on Liberty Street. In addition to serving whole-bean coffee, the shop offers a product unlike anything we’ve ever had—cold brewed, dry hopped coffee. This specialty brew mimics the packaging and taste of craft beers (complete with a hoppy zing), yet gives you a caffeine jolt instead of an alcohol buzz. 521 N. Liberty St. www.baristacoop.com.
Cafe Ole Coffee House: Tucked inside the Liberty Plaza Building, this new coffee shop is a warm and welcoming spot for downtown residents and workers to fuel up. The drinks are sweet, the atmosphere is light and airy, and the baristas are some of the friendliest in town. You’ll also find perks such as free-to-use Wifi along with chess, backgammon, even Nintendo Wii. 102 W. Third St. www.cafeolecoffeehouse.com.
Pepper Mill Coffee Shop: The City Council recently voted to approve a loan to developer Mike Coe to assist in the renovation of the historic Pepper Building. Plans include affordable housing and even a Brazilian steakhouse. But right now, there’s the Pepper Mill Coffee Shop. Small and cozy, the shop offers coffee drinks and tea, desserts, and bagels in a charming, comfortable setting. 102 W. Fourth St. facebook.com/PepperMillCoffeeShop.
West End Coffeehouse: What should one do in the midst of an unusually warm winter? Probably eat some gelato. Head to West End Coffeehouse and you’ll be greeted with a dozen flavors. You can stop by after dinner for wine and dessert, or head over in the morning for coffee and a scone. We also love the shop’s dog friendliness. (They even make gelato for your four-legged friend.) 390 N. Broad St. www.westendcoffeehouse.com.
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