Friday, February 9, 2007

Evelyn's Cafe

The first thing you need to know is that Pigtown is a neighbourhood in transition. It is a very mixed income place, with some desperately poor families and some new money in the new towne-homes at Camden Crossing. But for the most part, its demographic is lower-middle income. However, saying that, it is an up-and-coming area, just to the west of the two downtown stadiums and the University of Maryland Hospital and professional schools.

A couple of months ago, the long-awaited coffee shop, Evelyn's opened in the 700 block of Washington Boulevard. Just what the area needs! So, bright and early one Sunday morning, after walking Apollo, Buckley & Connor, five of us walked over to grab some coffee and a scone or muffin. Cute place, nice and bright, we could sit a spell and have a nice chat. But there were only about six seats in the whole place! Two small tables and one easy chair.

So we stood around waiting for our coffees, and waited and waited. It took 20+ minutes to make five cups of coffee and a couple of bagels. The bagels came in posh bags with handles. I love posh, but it's not necessary for my one bagel and some butter and napkins.

I assumed it was just opening jitters, so I stopped by a couple of mornings later, when I had a meeting and could walk Connor at leisure. I got a latte and bagel with butter and nearly keeled over when Evelyn told me it was $6.00. It wasn't even a large latte! I know from chef friends that the cost of a latte is less than $.50, so the mark-up is HUGE! Evelyn put the butter pats in with the bagel, under the foil, so that when I got home and unwrapped it all, the butter had melted in the wrapper and was impossible to spread. Yick!

I am all for supporting neighbourhood places, but $4.00 for a latte is a little dear. I have heard others say similar things, including being way overcharged for an order. It's insane that a cup of coffee costs the same as a sandwich.

Evelyn has a blog somewhere, which seemed pretty self-serving, and made me itch. I will give it another try, but it has to be better this time. Stay tuned.


Carol said...

I'm sorry you weren't happy with the service at my coffeehouse, and do wish you would have said something while you were there.

As for my blog being so? I know of quite a few restaurants that have blogs, and I've had a personal blog for 7 years now.

And just for the record -- my name is Carol, not Evelyn. But...had you read the'd know that. :-)

M. said...

I've paid more for a latte and pastry at Starbucks and neither the latte nor the pastry were any good. GOOD coffee isn't cheap.

And I don't know what she can do about seating...look at the size of the restaurant! It's a small place, thus a small amount of seating. What can ya do?

Anonymous said...

I visted Evelyn's as well, not only did I find it overpriced, but I found the owner or whoever that short woman was behind the counter to be rude. But from what I hear she is just feeling a little bitter, maybe she needs to put more sugar in her coffee!

Anonymous said...

Nice try Denise.

Fairfax said...

Who is Denise?

Anonymous said...

I do hope you try Eveyln's again - remembering how important it is to support new neighborhood businesses. I am not sure the point of your review. I find it hard to believe that you couldn't find any positives. I have eaten at Evelyn's several times and have been extremely happy with each and everyone of my dishes. Oh, and by the way, there are more than two tables. The coffee is great - and I am a coffee snob. I have yet to be there and see anyone NOT finish their meal. As for the cost - I am not sure where you normally get your lattes - but it is the going rate - and you also need to remember that quality costs. It would be nice if your blog were more supportive of new local businesses and of their owners. I am surprised to see such a small amount of objectivity.

Anonymous said...

I too have had less than positive experiences at Evelyns- My husband was in fact charged $8.00 for a latte and a bagel."quality costs" HMM- so the organic, free trade coffee I get at PRONTO for $3.00 is of poor quality? I disagree.
A blog is a place for one to express his/her personal opinions and share personal experiences.

Just because it is local doesn't make it great.

Anonymous said...

Caffe Pronto has excellent coffee, but keep in mind they are a roastery. Green beans cost roughly half what roasted beans cost and keep for up to a year, so they can be purchased in bulk. Carol buys her coffee - from a local roaster - in small batches, so it doesn't get old. I'd be thrilled to pay a little more for a latte and a bagel - and it isn't really more expensive at all - if it's prepared by a neighbor who knows who I am and actually cares. If cheap is what you're after, then go to the big chains that can afford to buy in massive quantities. That will always be cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Meg darling you might want to caution your commenters (and take this advice yourself) that publishing false information slides into the grey area of "potential for lawsuits". Carol isn't getting rich off "overcharging" her customers, in fact I seriously doubt she's overcharging people at all. A latte and a bagel can't add up to $8 when you're using a POS terminal one day and $6 the next, $5 another day. That's one of the advantages of using the Dell system she has, it takes out most of the "human error" factor. I helped install a similar system in another local restaurant and develop the network, so I know what Im talking about.

I would delete any references to untrue allegations.

And what's with the sour grapes, anyway? All the woman is trying to do is improve her neighborhood and you people snipe at her like she did something to you personally. I don't live in Pigtown, but it is one of the neighborhoods my husband and I are considering. I only hope we don't get stuck with whiny neighbors like I've seen here.

Samantha D., Bolton Hill

Anonymous said...

my samantha- you have never met me- and yet you have called me whiny?
perhaps that is why I don't live in bolton hill?

Marcus said...

$6.00, $8.00, whatever. I am so pleased that I can finally walk down my street, step into a nice, bright, cool coffee shop and eat and drink something of quality. I've eaten lunch there several times and I don't recall spending over 6 or 7 bucks and the food was de-lish. I go back often and love the place.

Anonymous said...

that is awesome
i wish her every success
good luck and happy eating

Timothy said...

Delayed input: Speaking of Pigtown places to support, check out Shahrazad's down the street towards MLK. EXCELLENT food!!! I've gone several times and consider my self a huge food snob. It may be unexpectedly pricey for pigtown, but is in line with other Baltimore restaurants and damn it's well worth it.

Michelle said...

I went to Sharazad and my chicken was raw in the middle. I'm glad someone had a better experience than I did. I don't live in the area so I definitely won't go back, sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

Shahrazah's is fantastic!
I was a little surprised at the price (being higher than what you'd expect for the area) and I really hope it doesn't prevent people from trying their food because it's amazing. I had their vegan steak with broccoli and rice and a homemade ginger iced tea. The owner and his wife are some of the nicest people I've met since I've moved into pigtown and I'd eat there everyday if it were within my budget. I haven't check out Evelyn's yet, but the price doesn't seem bad when compared with it's Starbuck's counterpart. I'll have to stop in this week.

TimOOn said...

It's funny to know that Evelyn's seems to be a famous coffee shop brand : There's another Evelyn's coffee bar in Banff, Alberta, Canada :