Tag Archives: coffee

Local Paragons VIII: Krankies Coffee

Krankies Coffee is located at 211 East Third Street in Downtown Winston Salem, North Carolina (though there is a secondary location on Reynolda Road). Stocking, selling and re-selling specialty, high quality coffees, Krankies keeps Winston Salem honest about local brews and “support[s] farmers that forgo industrial agricultural and processing practices for lower impact methods that support soil health.”

Local Color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                    Food/drink: <3 <3 <3

  The door was propped open, allowing the crisp spring air to accompany Lucy into the dark coffee house where she had decided to take her mid-morning planning session. It was further down Fourth Street than Camino, but she doubted that Saul would be at Krankies this time of day and what she wanted right now was to be alone.

“What can I get for you?” the slightly bohemian barista slunk behind the counter and looked at Lucy through half closed eyelids.

“Americano,” she said. Today she would keep it simple.

“Right on,” he said slurring the two syllables into one mumbled monosyllabic response. Lucy paid with a five, then stuffed her change in her pocket and headed toward the back. Though the coffeehouse had been under construction for months, the room was taking on a nice shape, and perfect for getting work done—which is what Lucy needed to do.

She had been working for over an hour when the woman approached her asking simply, “May I borrow this chair, sweetheart?”

Lucy looked around and noticed the room had filled, but the woman clearly just wanted a place to read. Lucy nodded, then went back to her work as the woman took a seat, her long, flowing skirt settling around her ankles as she settled in to read. Purple fabric stood out against the wooden chairs, the peacock feather motif made Lucy feel as though a dozen eyes were probing at her as she worked. She tried not to look at the striking woman, but her gaze kept wandering to the other end of the small table. Her wrists were covered in silver bangles, resting solidly against her soft, wrinkled skin. The peasant blouse she wore tied in the front, and flowed as easily as her skirt, but this was nothing compared to her hair. Not just grey, but a brilliant silver, it fell in a silky cascade from the top of her skull all the way down her back so that she was almost but not quite sitting on it.

“You look like you need to talk,” the woman’s voice interrupted Lucy’s thoughts again.

“I beg your pardon?” Lucy looked at her, blushing and hoping the other woman hadn’t noticed her staring.

“You’ve been looking at the same page in your notebook even before I sat down. Something else must be on your mind.” Her book was still open, but she studied Lucy with eyes that nearly took up her entire face.

“I suppose,” Lucy began, thinking as she spoke. “I suppose I do have a lot on my mind, but I’m not really sure I’m ready to talk about it. Honestly, I came here so I wouldn’t have to talk about it.” She’d been avoiding Chris, and though she’d gone out with Saul once this week she was exhausted.

“Fair enough,” the woman nodded as she spoke. “But the offer is open if you change your mind.” And she went back to her book.

Lucy tried to concentrate on her own work.

“You know the last time I traveled overseas I took this same book with me. Didn’t get very far that time either.” The woman shut the book firmly. “I’m Rebekah.”

“Lucy,” she turned in her chair, resigning herself to the conversation and almost relieved. “Did you say you were traveling overseas?”

“Yes,” Rebekah nodded, the long slivery earrings jangling as she nodded her head. “I just got back from my last pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem?” Lucy’s brow lifted, impressed. “That sounds pretty much amazing.”

“Have you been?”

“To Jerusalem?” Lucy asked. Rebekah nodded, and Lucy shook her head. “Not me. I’ve never been anywhere.”

“You’re young,” Rebekah said, patting her hand. “You have plenty of time to see things like the Western Wall where my people gather each day to pray, swarming together as if of one mind, asking Yahweh to heal our troubled world.”

“That’s lovely,” Lucy said. “And haunting. It makes my life seem so insignificant—petty even.”

“No one’s life is petty, Lucy, but how you live it. Now that’s where you start feeling alive. And faith, real faith, has a lot to do with that.” Rebekah smiled, taking a sip of her coffee, then looking down into it she pursed her lips. “It’s kind of like this coffee. Everyone thinks Starbucks is the real deal when it comes to coffee, but it’s really too commercialized to be authentic anymore. It holds a shadow of what it once was. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy. Starbucks still tastes good, but it is too sugary and marked up to be real. Faith, true faith, is like coffee from a local place—authentic and earthy; you order a shot of espresso here and you feel something. It’s pressed straight and not watered down or sugared up. That’s what real faith is like. An authentic espresso is so strong it keeps you awake at night, makes your heart palpitate, and widens your eyes. Faith should do the same.”Lucy looked down at her espresso; the foam was circling the top of the cup.

“I can’t have that kind of faith,” Lucy said quietly. “My—friend—Saul, you know, we’ve had similar conversations. But I just, well I just can’t.”

Rebekah pushed up the sleeves of her peasant blouse and crossed her arms over her chest. She rested her hands on the table to study Lucy.

“God doesn’t, well, he doesn’t care about us—well at least not about me.”

“Where did you get a notion like that from, darlin’?” Rebekah looked genuinely concerned. Lucy swirled the espresso in her drink.

Lucy thought it was strange that Rebekah didn’t ask about Saul. She didn’t really want Rebekah to ask about Saul. She didn’t really want to talk at all.

“That’s alright,” Rebekah said. “You don’t have to say anything. But I want you to know how wrong you are—people don’t want to hear that, but God does love you, honey. Just remember that whatever happened to make you think otherwise is, well, is just a lie.”

Blinking, Lucy opened and closed her mouth, unable to respond.

“There I go again, my bluntness can be somewhat—“

“No, no,” Lucy shook her head. “I’m not of-offended. I just, I don’t really know what to say, Rebekah. I don’t, well you see, I don’t even know you.”

“Understandable,” she looked at her watch. Lucy noticed it was vintage Betty Boop. “How about we meet again? Let’s say—West End Café? In a week? Here’s my card.” She slid it across the table.

Lucy picked it up, studied it and then looked at Rebekah again. Nothing but sincerity shone back from her beautifully aged eyes.

“Okay,” she said, nodding her head. “Does 11:30 work for you?”


Local Paragons Part III: Ardmore Coffee

Ardmore Coffee is located at 1316 S. Hawthorne Rd. in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Nestled in the Ardmore neighborhood, it is a local treasure of the community. Small, but homey they offer wifi for their customers and a communal atmosphere for locals to meet or work. There are a few small tables that line the narrow strip by the bar and a small couch/sitting area in the back of the coffee shop more suitable for meeting. There is outside seating for the more pleasant spring/fall/summer months. The best part is the affordable GREAT coffee (not chain quality, but real espresso).

Food/Beverage: <3 <3 <3 <3                    Local Color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


The chair scraped against the hard, gray floor of Ardmore Coffee. Lucy looked up from her laptop and pulled her earbuds out—faded sounds of Josh Vietti’s violin cover of “Best of Both Worlds” still emanating but not drowning out the world around her.

“Hey Chris,” Lucy smiled as Katie’s twin brother plopped down in front of her. She’d known Chris as long as she’d known Katie—he might as well be her own brother.

“So, did you call him?” Chris grabbed her latte and took a sip. Lucy frowned. She would kill Katie for this later.

“No,” she pulled the sea salt and caramel latte back to her side of the table. “And get your own coffee.”

“I will,” he smacked his lips together and made a face. “That’s sweet. Really sweet.”

“It’s a latte,” she rolled her eyes. “It’s bound to be sweet. And it’s to die for.”

“Is it better than the Crème Brule you told me about last week?”

“Less sweet.”

“Hmmm.” Chris stood again and backed toward the door. “Maybe I’ll get something classic like the Americano.”


“You just can’t handle this kind of awesome,” she said, finally turning the music off on her phone. She watched as he grabbed a mug from the shelves on the wall. She loved that about Ardmore—the mugs by the door added a homey touch to the place making it less corporate than the chain coffee places. Being about to pick your own mug made her feel a personal connection to the beverage—and the people and place. The coffee shop was nestled into her own neighborhood and she could easily walk there—so she did, often. Chris worked at Forsyth hospital just up the road and popped by the coffee shop between shifts, finding her hard at work more often than not. Ever since Katie had moved to Raleigh, Lucy had felt lonely but Chris had filled that void and she was grateful—most of the time.

“Okay, so why didn’t you call him?” Chris asked sitting back down in the chair he’d left pulled out while at the counter.

“It’s too weird,” Lucy shook her head and traced to top of her mug with her index finger. “I don’t even know what I’d say.”

“How about… Hi?”

“Oh come on, you know what I mean,” Lucy insisted.

Chris studied her a minute. “You want to call him.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she shrugged and put her phone on the table, disconnecting her earbuds and winding them up to put in her shoulder bag. Chris reached out and took her phone. Privacy did not exist between close friends.

“Then why do you have his number stored in your phone?” he turned the device around to her, the florescent screen highlighting the contours of her face.

“Chris!” she screeched, reaching for the phone. But he was too fast. He snatched it away and kept scrolling, and she was too self-conscious to make any kind of public scene.

“Stored in your phone already, my my my.” He shook his head for dramatic effect.

“What’s stored in her phone?” Neither had noticed TJ come in, but he pulled another chair up to the tiny table, half blocking the walkway as he sat in it backward staring over his younger brother’s shoulder. “Who’s Saul?”

“Oh dear heaven?” Lucy buried her now blazing face in her hands. This was not how she pictured her morning going.

“The guy who hit on Lucy and asked her to call him twice now,” Chris said.2015/01/img_1970.jpg

“Why doesn’t he call her?” TJ asked.

“Black coffee?” the barista sat the mug on the bar just above TJ’s head. He reached up for it.

“Thanks doll,” he winked at her and, as most women did, she giggled at his flirtatious and irresistible smile. Lucy knew it was the dimple—she’d fallen prey to that eat your heart out smile herself more than once.

“She didn’t give him her number,” Chris waved the phone around bringing TJ’s attention back to the matter at hand. “But she wants to.”

TJ’s aristocratic brow rose as he took a sip of the steaming hot coffee—years ago he’d joked that drinking coffee since he was twelve had deadened the pain nerves in his mouth. Since he didn’t even flinch and Lucy could still see the stem rising out of the cup, she was inclined to agree.

“So, call him now,” TJ took the phone from Chris and handed it back to Lucy. She looked up from her laptop.

“I can’t do that,” she put the phone down on the table.

“Sure you can. ‘Open the gates and seize the day,’” TJ said.

“You can’t Newsies reference me into thinking this is a good idea,” Lucy said.

“Well how about,” TJ picked up the phone again and pressed a button. “If I just hit send. It’s ringing!”

“What?” Lucy, mortified looked at the now black screen which had only one option: End. She sat frozen staring at the screen listening to the distant ring.

TJ waved her on, motioning for her to put the phone up to her ear.

All sense had left Lucy as she listened to the end of the ringback tone growing louder and mixing with her heartbeat in her ear.

“Voicemail,” she whispered. “What do I do?”

“Leave a message,” TJ laughed and took a sip of coffee. He looked over at Chris, who frowned. TJ shrugged.

“Um, Saul,” Lucy started her message, her voice shaking. “It’s uh, Lucy from well, from dinner and the coffee house. Well, anyway, I don’t know what—I just—if you want to call. I mean you can—I’d like it if you did. Okay, um, bye.”

Lucy hung up and dropped the phone on the table. It clattered, shatter the tense silence between them.

“Lucy?” TJ couldn’t hide the laughter.

“Shut up.” Lucy could feel the heat radiating from her face—she wondered if melting into the seat was possible and how she could activate that power if it were.

“Lucy, it wasn’t so bad,” Chris said, the laughter in his own voice ill disguised as well, but at least his face looked a little more sympathetic.

“You shut up too,” she pushed her hair out of her face. She could feel the heat on her hand, her face was so hot. “I can’t believe you just did that to me.”

“Sure you can,” TJ laughed. “We’ve done far worse to you over the years.”

“I can’t think of a single thing worse than this,” Lucy moaned. “I’d even relive the frogs and spiders in the tent at camp in third grade! I feel so humiliated.” She shut the top of her laptop.

“Don’t be mad, Luce,” TJ reached over and covered her hand with his own.

Lucy looked down at her hand and felt her heart speed up. She opened her mouth to speak, but TJ beat her to it.

“We were just trying to help. You’re like a sister to us, like Katie,” he said. Lucy’s stomach dropped to her feet and she pulled herself free from his grasp. She shook her head.

“Tell Kaylee what you did,” she said, speaking of TJ’s latest girlfriend. “Better yet, tell Katie, then tell me if you still think it was the right thing to do.” Lucy slung her laptop bag over her shoulder and marched toward the door.

“Lucy,” Chris called after her. She paused, but didn’t turn around. “Don’t stay mad too long. You never know; this might be a good thing.”

Lucy sighed and turned. “I’m not mad,” she said, avoiding TJ’s gaze. “I just have to go. I have a meeting in twenty.”

She left the homey little coffee shop, feeling its eyes on her all the way home.