Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Little Coffee Shop That Could

Nothing like a nice cup of hot cocoa after a brisk walk at the beach! I took this photo in Truro the other day, having left Sven in the car with his Sunday New York Times. According to the ad currently on television, everyone has a favorite section. My husband reads Week in Review in priority, then makes his way through the rest. (Last summer a Week in Review editor stayed at Chez Sven. You can imagine how thrilled that made Sven!) The section I reach for first is the decadent Sunday Styles because it’s, well, so incredibly decadent. Last Sunday an article on the second page caught my eye, Michael Winerip’s column Generation B, “A Coffee Shop That Is So Much More.” My eyes shifted down to the first few lines: “Every morning at 6:30 a.m., as sure as the ebb of the Cape Cod tides, the rise of the sun and the four phases of the moon, the front door at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow is unlocked, and the regulars – George Malloy, Bill von Thaden, Bart Randall, Jaan Vari, Bruce Bierhans – hurry in from the cold and the dark for their morning coffees.” Whoa! I know two of these now infamous regular coffee-drinkers! Since the feeling of suddenly being with the in-crowd doesn’t happen very often here in winter, I let some of the glow tinkle onto my shoulder like fairy dust, savoring the celebrity by extension for a minute or two, before brushing it off.

Unfortunately, Wellfleet doesn’t have a coffee shop of its own, which is why folks congregate in Orleans. George now lives there, so I can understand ducking out of his accounting office for java downtown, but three times day? Perhaps a way of drumming up business in a slow economy? Bruce reads this blog. (Yo, Bruce! The attraction of Hot Chocolate Sparrow for Comments in fifty words or less? Know what? I think Preservation Hall should have it’s own coffee shop, open year round, on Main Street. Nicholas, are you listening?)

I have wandered through on occasion, actually, at Christmas time, checking out the chocolate display. Hot Chocolate Sparrow is located in the same parking lot as CVS Pharmacy. I visited the ladies room once, big enough to bring a friend so the hot conversation you are having doesn’t cool down. At the time, the tables were anything but crowded. I don’t remember the place as particularly earthshaking or welcoming, certainly not material for a column, but it MADE THE NEW YORK TIMES, so, hey, I take my hat off to that accomplishment and give Marjorie Sparrow our High Horse Award.

If you want to hear the latest local gossip, as reported in the New York Times, go here. Why is there no coffee shop in Wellfleet? It has to do with permit requirements and restrictions from the Board of Health. Word is the dynamic trio at Mac's Seafood may be looking into loopholes, but I hope Prez. Hall figures it out first. Hot Chocolate Sparrow has a seasonal shop in Wellfleet, only it doesn’t serve coffee. The homemade chocolate creams are pretty good though ….