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September 27th, 2016

Taking It Up a Notch at the Coffee Corner

Pictured (L-R): Sean Ward, Mike Raymond, Amy Cox and Taylor May

Pictured (L-R): Sean Ward, Mike Raymond, Amy Cox and Taylor May

Perhaps Montpelier’s longest running restaurant (at least with the same name) and a favorite for affordable breakfast and lunch seven days a week, the Coffee Corner at 83 Main St. has also solved many of the local, state and national problems from its strategic location in the heart of the city.

Owners Michael Raymond and Sean Ward knew that they had some big shoes to fill when they took ownership of the Coffee Corner in 2010, but they were inspired by previous owner Bryan Mitofsky’s model of what the capital city wanted. And if anything, they took it up a notch with some very fine offerings.

“We knew we had a very loyal group of regular customers who, like Lola Aiken, were also the leading citizens of the town,” stated Raymond, who very shortly, will have worked at the Coffee Corner for 21 years.

“From their vantage point at the big table and bay window overlooking the crossroads of State and Main Streets, many solutions were hashed out to every day life and beyond,” he added.

Co-owner Sean Ward has done a wonderful job of organizing the menu and keeping track of the restaurant’s memorabilia dating back to the opening day in 1959. (In 1937 it was called Brother’s Cafe).

Ward was originally a kitchen designer before teaming up with Raymond who has been a cook several times, manager and even a waiter at the Coffee Corner over the last 21 years.

Being open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day is not easy but the energetic duo do not complain.

“We cater to our customers and that means if someone is working late and wants a burger or special sandwich, we try to do it!”

The menu is extensive and the portions generous. They are famous for their not so secret homemade corned beef selections – including Rueben sandwiches and corned beef hash from handed down family recipes.

Ward and Raymond are proud to offer their customers good, local products such as Manghi’s Breads, (rye for their famous Ruebens and sunflower honey bran for their “Four Star” turkey sandwiches), Vermont Maple Links, Shelburne Farms, Cabot Creamery, K.C.’s Bagel Cafe, Nutty Steph’s and the Montpelier Farmers’ Market (in season), just to mention a few.

The Coffee Corner continues to use trans fat-free cooking oils and all used oils are recycled for future use.

“We’re your local diner for over a half century proudly serving the comfort foods diners are known for,” say Ward and Raymond, adding “that includes pancakes, steak and eggs, omelets, french toast and waffles, muffins, burgers, sandwiches (including vegetarian), salads, soups and fries.”

But you will also find such nice choices as Florentine with sauteed roasted red peppers, spinach and mushrooms; marinated Tofu; croissants; the best milk shakes; Nutty Steph’s Granola, Philly Cheese Steak; Whimpy Bacon Burger; and even sweet potato fries.

Surprising, or not, Norwich University and New England Culinary Institute students feel very comfortable at the 47-seat coffee corner and can often be seen mixing it up with central Vermonters.

“There are some pretty amazing stories at this place about people who came here 40 years ago on their first dates or other special occasions. “The ‘diner’ ambiance is a very strong pull,” say Ward and Raymond.

Lately, something special has been taking place at the Coffee Corner on Thursday mornings when local (and even out-of-towner) musicians hold a jam session from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at the C.C. There is usually a guitar player or two and several violinists and even an accordion player, and been popular with customers.

“We don’t want to take away business from anyone and are happy to be a part of the great restaurant business here in Montpelier,” relates the two very affable entrepreneurs.

Ward and Raymond also credit their success to a great staff who quietly and efficiently work their magic at the C.C. Front-end supervisor Amy Cox has served customers at the C.C. for 21 years. She has that special ability to know what a customer wants before they speak up and she can recommend the best daily specials.

Whether you are looking for a hearty stack of pancakes topped with real maple syrup and strawberries, or something lighter, or just a really good cup of coffee, the Coffee Corner is a really good choice, believe their longtime customers. Call 802-229-9060 or go on line to www.coffeecorner.com for more information. -GH

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