This Saturday, April 7, sisters Erika Darrough and Megan Cobb are opening the doors to the business they've long dreamt of — Sweet EM's Coffee and Ice Cream (6330 Clayton Avenue).
They'll be serving coffee, ice cream and baked goods out of a storefront in the heart of Dogtown.
The sisters have deep roots in the neighborhood. Not only did they grow up in Dogtown, but their family owns Seamus McDaniel's — the bar whose parking lot butts up to their shop.
They intend to coordinate with their family to provide early-morning parking. (As Cobb notes, the bar doesn't open 'til 11 a.m., and they expect to be busiest in the hours before that — why not avail themselves of those spots?) And that's not the only Dogtown business they're working with. Their menu also includes cookies, pies and even quiches from nearby Sugaree Baking Company.
Originally, they acknowledge, their plan was to launch with just coffee and ice cream. Adding other food offerings "was supposed to be our phase two," Darrough says. "But it made such a natural fit to partner up with Sugaree." And once they added desserts, a savory quiche option made sense as well.
"When I'm drinking coffee, I want something not quite as sweet," Cobb notes.
Megan Cobb, left, and Erika Darrough.
And so customers will be able to get shakes or malts or ice cream floats, ice cream sandwiches or banana splits. You can get your ice cream "EM's Way" (two scoops and two toppings) or simply in a waffle cone. If you want your ice cream caffeinated, you can get an affogato. And, of course, there are any number of coffee drinks: macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes.
The shop is small, but there are table for lingering and, by opening day, there will be counter seating along the window as well as one part of the order counter. It's already filled with personal touches that reference both their family and their neighborhood — two big things for the sisters. The flowers on one shelf are from Cobb's wedding; the paintings were done by students at St. James the Greater, where they both went to school. And the pillows, which have a dog motif, were sewn by their aunt.
"We're going to add to the tchotchkes as we go," Cobb says. "We want Sweet EM's to embody the neighborhood and the places that were here before us."
Sweet EM's will be open beginning Saturday, with hours from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. They intend to keep longer hours in the summer.
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