If you’re planning an October trip up to see all the imaginative scarecrows in Cambria, these three spots will offer you a diverse array of treats … not tricks!
Cambria Coffee Roasting Company
761 Main St. (West Village), Cambria
Hours: Daily 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
True to its name, this tiny coffeehouse is also a top notch roaster of beans sourced from throughout the coffee world. Thanks to the down-to-the-second attention and expertise of the roasting staff here, you can taste the fruitiness of Ethiopian coffees, the earthiness of Sumatran beans or the full-bodied nuttiness of Guatemalan brew.
Owner Tom Walsh is a self-described coffee geek, and the rest of his well-trained staff probably proudly accept that label themselves. Whether roasters or baristas, they all take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by coffee trade organizations throughout the year.
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“We’re really trying to target customer service and quality,” said Walsh, who has even invested in high-end brewing machines that will create the optimum ratio of coffee to water for even the most basic cuppa Joe. Of course, the baristas can also pull you a steaming espresso, or craft a “pour over” — a technique where just hot enough water is gently and painstakingly poured over freshly ground beans to make an individual cup of coffee.
“The pour overs really highlight our more unique coffees, the single origins (beans from a very specific geographic location),” Walsh said. “They’re probably not something you’re going to drink every day, but we want to show people that this is the world of coffee.”
2320 Main St. (East Village), Cambria
Hours: Daily, Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Whether you want a sandwich, grilled black bean burrito, chocolate chip cookie, ice cream cone or a bagel dog, you’ll find them all at the Village Bean.
Formerly known as the Rainbow Bean, owner Josh Riley changed the name of the cozy East Village hangout when he took over in June 2012. He also brought in a county favorite — Doc Burnstein’s ice cream. About a dozen flavors are available, including the popular Motor Oil (dark chocolate, Kahlua and fudge) and Sea Salt Caramel.
Other local products include Coastal Peaks Coffee and bagels from House of Bagels, but the Village Bean also serves up its own freshly baked goodies. Every morning, co-manager Brianna Arrastia whips up new batches of everything from cookies and croissants to oat bars and blueberry lemon scones.
The Wise Owl Eclectic Café
2164 Center St. (Behind Robin’s, East Village), Cambria
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Monday.
It’s impossible to pigeonhole the Wise Owl Eclectic Cafe.
Since its opening in August 2013, it’s been host to poetry readings, book signings, live music, tarot readings, art shows, barbecues and wedding parties. With serene patios front and back and a welcoming interior that feels just like home, it has also quietly established itself as a favorite place to meet up for a glass of wine, a couple of craft beers and an evolving selection of small plates.
“We are a little bit of everything,” admitted owner Eileen Nunes. “We’re really a community place.”
Wise Owl supports the community in what it offers as well. Nunes sources as much local and organic ingredients as possible for her food menus, and the local beverage lineup includes Joebella Coffee, Firestone beer, Bristol Cider and several SIP (Sustainability In Practice) certified wines.
The café’s busy live music calendar is managed by talented singer/songwriter Jill Knight, a SLO County favorite who usually takes the stage herself several times a month. Tunes happen in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday and on Sunday afternoons. (Check website for schedule.)