Hot Spots

03 Dec 2020

Places throughout the Sandhills for a cup of Joe

By RAY LINVILLE  »  Photos by Melissa Souto

When is the best time to enjoy coffee? Anytime. Most of us suffer until we can have our first cup each day. As the great composer J.S. Bach remarked, “Without my morning coffee, I’m just like a dried-up piece of goat.”

Whether coffee is sipped alone by yourself or shared with someone special, it’s all you need to make a moment magical. It’s even more special when you are relaxing in one of the distinctive coffee shops in our area.

High Octane

What was once a Pure Oil service station dating to the 1930s is now a neighborhood gathering place in the historic district of the town originally called Blue’s Crossing. The retro-themed coffee shop shows the spirit of three local entrepreneurs who have decorated with menu boards, nostalgic signs, flowers, light fixtures, tables, and other furnishings from neighboring businesses. The High Octane house blend is a mix of French Sumatran, Peruvian, and Brazilian beans. Evening on Knight Street, another signature blend, combines Peruvian, Brazilian, and Mexican coffee beans.

Buggy Town Coffee

Where else would a coffee shop with Buggy Town in its name be located but in Carthage? Since it opened in 2014, this shop has attracted a loyal following for its baked goods such as macarons (sold by the piece or the box) as much as its coffee selections. With adequate space to accommodate a group of friends or to work alone with a laptop online, the shop is the perfect spot to enjoy a Gold Dust Latte (with turmeric) or Nitro Coffee (nitrogen-infused flash-chilled coffee), although coffee offerings change weekly.

The Coffee Scene Cameron

This coffee shop is actually one of three in the Sandhills operated by the owners (two others are in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg). Each one serves popular choices of both hot and cold coffee beverages as well as baked goods and pastries, specialty and seasonal desserts, and low-fat gelato and sorbetto. (Buy one gelato, get one free on Tuesdays and Saturdays.)

The Market Place Restaurant

Relax on the spacious outside patio while you sip a cup of the restaurant’s own The Market Place Blend, which is made locally by Cactus Creek and ground fresh every morning. Or instead choose one of the best lattes in the Sandhills. Each one is made from its own organic expresso that is ground in house. Latte flavors range from caramel to Irish cream and can also be ordered sugar-free. If the counter has an apple pie made by Luke Black’s family, don’t even think twice about ordering a slice.

The Roast Office

“Stamping out fatigue one cup at a time” is a mantra well-deserved by the little coffee shop tucked inside Given Book Shop, the second-hand bookstore located in the original post office building of Pinehurst. Here you can meander through aisles of books (sales support Given Memorial Library) or sit on one of the overstuffed sofas as you peruse book selections. The outdoor patio is a charming spot to enjoy the season.

Pinehurst and Southern Pines
Pine Scone Café

Why not pair your next cup of coffee with a freshly baked scone? No need to travel to Scotland. Pine Scone Café, which not long ago was a only home-based artisan bakery, has expanded to two retail locations, the flagship café on Brucewood Road and the original site on Linden Road. Consider an Aloha scone (pineapple, coconut, white chocolate and macadamia nuts) with your next cappuccino, latte or mocha. Dairy-, sugar-, and gluten-free scones are also available for special diets.


Simply Coffee

A coffee shop can’t be named more simply than this one, but its selections rival the better-known ones in our area. Espresso, latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, Americano, frappuccino, and other popular options are all on the menu, and daily flavors on the menu board match the cooler temperatures. Since it opened just a few weeks ago in September, it has simply made Robbins a happier place to be and helped to reinvigorate the downtown area.

Southern Pines
Broad Street Bakery & Cafe

The front porch is the best spot in Southern Pines to enjoy watching tourists meander on Broad Street or to wait for the next train to rumble through town.  “It’s spectacular to sit outside with coffee and a pastry, and watch the world go by,” says Steve Grasso, who owns and operates the business with his wife Jackie. Although all the bakery specialties are enticing every day, if you come on Saturday, remember to ask for one of the famous pecan sticky buns that are made fresh and are ready early in the morning.

Southern Pines
Frankie’s Southern Grinds

Owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Frankie and Rose Anderson, this coffee shop may be as close as you can get to being at Grandma’s home for a cup of coffee. This popular hangout where the raspberry mocha remains a perennial choice is a quaint and inviting house. What were once bedrooms now have either tables and chairs or couches for relaxing, reading, chatting, or working as you enjoy coffee.

Southern Pines
Java Bean Plantation & Roasting Co.

With plenty of seating on the patio or inside, Java Bean has been a popular coffee shop since it opened in 1996. The friendly staff, great coffee, and cozy atmosphere make it the perfect place for reading or simply hanging out with friends in a charming location while you enjoy the house blend. The homemade muffins are an added attraction.

Southern Pines
Swank Coffee Shoppe & Handmade Market

With a laid-back atmosphere, comfy seating, and dog-friendly setting, Swank is a popular spot to relax as you shop or browse the stores in downtown Southern Pines. Monthly coffee selections compete with house favorites for your attention as do the delightful handmade items crafted by local artisans throughout the shop. Don’t miss Thyme to Go, the grab-and-go case of sandwiches, wraps, quiches, soups, and salads from Thyme and Place Café.

Crossroads Coffee Co.

The baristas at Crossroads Coffee are adept at making a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks, including cappuccino, frappuccino, latte, mocha, and expresso. Its specialty coffee beverages reflect traditional flavors of the season and the region as well as “new age” cafe tastes. Building on its small-town charm in a newly renovated building, the architectural decor makes you feel immediately at home when you enter this quaint shop in the heart of old town Vass on Main Street.

Whispering Pines
Mean Bean Coffee

Since it opened in 2014 near the airport, Mean Bean has been attracting a growing fanbase of loyal followers who appreciate its dedication to serving coffee with personality. The light and fun atmosphere is enhanced by a friendly staff. Both hot and cold coffee drinks are very reasonably priced, and homemade baked treats make them even more enjoyable.

If you don’t have time to sit and linger for a spell, zip into Pony Espresso in Southern Pines or Over the Tracks Coffee on Niagara Carthage Road for a quick pick-me-up with one of their specialties.

Don’t be a dried-up piece of goat. Enjoy coffee every day at any time, but beware of the warning of Ronald Reagan: “I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.”
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