Coffee Shop Saturdays: 101 Espresso Bar, Greenville, SC
At 101 Wade Hampton Boulevard sits an odd-shaped building with "espresso" on the wall, containing a coffee shop. It was a coffee shop when we first moved to Greenville, SC in 2014, albeit not my favorite. In 2016, it sat empty for a time.
A man named Patrick purchased the odd-shaped building with "espresso" on the wall and tried to turn it into a real estate office.
Apparently, that didn't work out so well, because of the tell-tale word. Folks kept stopping by for coffee and not for houses or land.
So Patrick did what any smart and reasonable entrepreneur would do.
Give the people what they want. Serve them coffee.
Patrick works with his sister named Kimberly. She provides all the artwork which beautifully decorates the odd-shaped space at 101 Wade Hampton Boulevard. On most nice days you can find Kimberly outside painting or teaching kids how to paint.
I missed Kimberly when I visited earlier this week. But I chatted with her daughter while she cheerfully made my Americano. She reminded me of the 101 Espresso Bar story.
Kimberly has fought her way back from stage 4 melanoma (now in remission).
Character all the way around - in both building and business owners.
I stopped by on a Friday to finish out my work week with some caffeinated administration. I ordered an Americano, paired with a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie.
101 Espresso has a partnership with Phoenix Coffee Roasters, outside of Atlanta. Their espresso is a single origin light roast from Panama.
Typically, I'm not a fan of single origin espresso. There are several shops in Greenville whose espresso is made from single origin beans (typically from Africa), rather than a blend. Their espresso often tastes sour to me. Not sure what's going on with the Panamanian beans, but this single origin, lightly roasted coffee works as an espresso. And works well. My 16oz Americano had four hots, was balanced, mildly fruity, with just a touch of that milk chocolatey sweetness, typical of Central American coffees.
The rest of the menu is a generous selection of various espresso drinks, brewed coffee, teas (including matcha and chai), iced drinks, refreshing smoothies and frappes, and a nitro cold brew. Fresh pastries are in abundance - something for every taste, sweet and savory.
And here's what I enjoyed most.
I clasped my coffee and cookie up the steep, narrow spiral staircase and enjoyed the final hours of my workweek, seated at handmade eucalyptus wood tables, overlooking the genesis of Wade Hampton Boulevard. Outlets are limited, but there's a solid wifi connection and found it the perfect location for a productive end of the week.
Kimberly's artwork is ubiquitous, inside and out, giving the entire shop inexorable charm. The outdoor space is comfortable and pleasant - and will be more so, once the nearby construction is complete and the weather warms, ever so slightly.
A Harris Teeter grocery will be going in across the street. The store will contain one of those mermaid-clad corporate coffee shops. But discerning tastes will make the smart choice and get their coffee from the narrow, odd-shaped shop at the start of Wade Hampton Boulevard.
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And definitely check them out in person!
101 Wade Hampton Boulevard