O’Dell’s Review of S.L.C Coffee Shops


When I was seven years old, me & my grampa would randomly drive across endless winding desert roads in his ‘58 Mercedes Convertible, not talking or even looking at each other. The smell of dusty roads that only got kicked up once a day, the orange, almost red sunsets so thick you could grab clumps of it and stuff it in your pocket, the memories that are only pulled out years later when you’re asked why you like honky tonk truck drivin’ music and you can’t just say “cuz chicks think it’s cool.”

Anyhoo, this has nothin to do with why O’Dell loves coffee. I could go into another story of a diner in my hometown of Nowheresville and tell of big plank floors and cigarette smoke that never goes away … blah, blah, blah, but ya’d just know it was bullshit. I’d be foolin’ myself … whoa … hello! On with my review of Salt Lake’s coffee shops.

First off, any coffee shop within three blocks of the University of Utah is excluded. I don’t have the demeanor to enter those establishments without screaming “will you people look at yourselves!” Secondly, any coffee served out of one of those Auto-Soylent-Green-Coffee-Computers (Brackman Bros) is also disqualified. Any coffee shop not open on Sundays with a non-smoking policy will be bitch slapped with five of O’Dell’s backwards-ass-country-fuck demerits (you know who you are, you worthless bastards). Smoking and coffee are joined at the hip, one and the same, yin & yang, blah blah blah. 

The Roasting Company: Good coffee, great snacks, good environment. If you can stand the clientele. Plenty of Range Rovers outside, the bike rack is always full, no shortage of bearded professor types who never bathe or shave for months at a time because that is how serious they are about academia man! The Roasting Co. deserves its respects, cuz it was Salt Lake’s first coffee shop, but who do I care? Burn in hell, weasels. Four upside-down trailer houses.

Grounds For Coffee: Oh, great name—I wouldn’t have liked ‘Grounds for a Slow Painful Death’ much better. These guys are the McDonald’s of coffee shops. They turned into a corporate chain overnight and it shows in the coffee. Yuck! This coffee is so mediocre, licking a rock slammed these guys in Karl Malone’s Taste Test. The snacks are OK. I give them five upside-down trailer houses.

The Coffee Garden: Get it? It’s a semi-coffee shop/flower shop. Ooooh, I like this place. Cool furniture and tasty coffee. I don’t know if they roast their coffee or not, but on a rainy day, you can look out across 9th and 9th and feel like you are in Seattle. Hmm … is that a good thing? I give five right-side-up trailer houses.

Beans & Brews: Bad name. This plastic lawn furniture thing has got to go. Great plan, let’s make people as uncomfortable as possible so they will get up and leave and not give us any more money. But they do have the best coffee in SLC. They roast their own and it is the only coffee I buy. I go to the B&B on the corner of 9th & 5th because it’s the only comedy I have in my life. There’s this one gang of bikers that hangs out there. I think they’re called “The Pretty Boy Living in Dimension #17 (the Aaron Spelling Reality) $10,000 Harley afraid to ride it so somehow I can afford to sit here all day and look cool gang.” So stop by, they’re always on display. Six trailers up!

The Crux: Almost the worst name. Good coffee, good food, nice people … non-rock climbers need not apply. If you don’t walk in there with ‘The Mexican Federal Double Cross Belts of Caribeeners’ on your chest, you will get your ass kicked and thrown off the big fake mountain. Three trailers up.

Some place called Caputo’s Gourmet Coffee wins hands down for the name alone. However, I haven’t been in there yet. Six trailers up. 

And last and definitely least …

Java Jive: The worst name conceivable. I hate this place with all of my soul. Two words— ‘Freak Show.’ The coffee is miserable. Always served at a scalding room temperature and the foam will always last until the cash register goes ‘ching ching’ one time. I was in there with this street urchin I befriended, and this beatnik, black-turtle-neck-wearin’, black-beanie-sportin’ asshole was behind the counter. I asked him for some chocolate, please and he rolled his eyes, turned around, grabbed the chocolate and gave me three grains worth! “Hey, take it easy asshole! You are pouring coffee for a living, moron!” You’d think I asked him to change my tire or clean the puke out of my car. No! It’s this kind of moron who’s living in their own little ‘poetry reading snapping at cool cats reading Hess & Jack Kerouac’s world. Well, welcome to the ‘90s boys, which is why Bandaloops is only mentioned now. And that is all I have to say about that.

Read more from our September 1994 issue here.