Park Avenue Coffee Coming Downtown

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Downtown living is on the upswing, but, to the best of our knowledge, the neighborhood still lacks a basic coffee shop, save for a few teeny-tiny Starbucks outlets.

On March 7, that will change, when Park Avenue Coffee, famed for its gooey butter cakes, opens its second location on 10th Street, between Washington and Locust. The company, which opened its original shop on Lafayette Square five years ago, has won accolades, including a "Best Of" RFT award in 2008.

To be sure, there are several existing options for downtown residents to caffeinate themselves, but those spaces tend to be either hotel lobbies, sandwich shops or upscale cafes like Rooster, which rely on table service and food. Park Avenue owner Dale Schotte saw the need for a gathering place with emphasis placed exclusively on java.

"Downtown needed a place where people could connect for a meeting, and not feel like they were in a lunch place," he says.

A medium coffee will cost $1.95, and baked goods, along with free Wi-Fi, will be offered. Schotte says he'll play with the idea of breakfast sandwiches once things get going. As of now, operating hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., though an extension is possible if the demand presents itself, he says. (Because the space is tucked on away on a side street, Schotte says he worries about a lack of commuter traffic.)

The new shop should feel welcoming to artists and business types alike, says Schotte. "Even though it's downtown we want to give it a neighborhood feel. There will be oversized stuffed chairs and warm, comfy-cozy colors."

And of course, 70-plus flavors of gooey butter cake.

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