Grit Coffee's mission is to focus on six areas: people, coffee, food, space, design, and work. The small, local chain of four locations certainly has its priorities straight.
Grit Coffee has a bit of an interesting history in the Charlottesville area. It started as Para Coffee when Eric Kelley founded the shop in 2008. As the shop, located at 19 Elliewood Ave. in Charlottesville, grew, Kelley began to think expansion plans. Seven years later, Kelley and two business partners own four locations, which have all been rebranded under the name Grit Coffee.
The newest location on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall is in a prime spot — particularly during the warmer months of the year. Grit took over another coffee shop there, Cafe Cubano, and is hoping for a big spring and summer in 2015.
“We’re serving local ground coffee, which sets us apart. We serve a different kind of coffee," says Kevin O’Hara, barista. “Some of our specialties are cold brew, cappuccinos and flat whites.”
As for Grit's menu, there's coffee and espresso drinks, plus breakfast and brunch foods. The shop strives to provide each of its customers a pleasant experience, whether they're popping in for a coffee to go or sitting down with a cappuccino and a pastry.
One of Grit's locations, on 2nd Street SE, is laptop-free, which no doubt stems from the brand's vision of both entrepreneurship and fostering ideas through conversation. “We have poetry readings usually on Friday or Saturdays, says barista Liz Desil. “We have full upstairs seating area. People can rent out the space and we are very music friendly. Once every month or two, local musicians perform.”
The original location on Elliewood Avenue is across from the University of Virginia and is a favorite spot for students and professors to hang out for hours, catching up on schoolwork while sipping caffeinated drinks and taking advantage of the shop's wifi.
“Our shop’s personality is a little weird. “We’re all different people and we’re all quirky. We all get along. We cater to all types of people.”