The air was warm with a gentle breeze, and the sun shone down brightly above, the outdoors suddenly smelling like spring. This welcome break from our ugly February weather encouraged me to hop in the car on a recent afternoon and drive down to our newest local coffee shop. Located on East Broadway Ave, just down from Studio 212, stands a small, quaint building advertising coffee and snacks in gold lettering on the windows. If you’re not looking, you might just miss it. However, this unimposing little shop has quite a story to tell.
“Beard Brothers” doesn’t sound like the name of your typical coffee shop, but to anyone who went to Maryville High School, it might ring a bell. Mr. Beard taught sophomore English classes and, yes, he does have a beard. He was a favorite among students who enjoyed his unique teaching style and approaches to topics in literature and beyond. So, when he announced he was leaving teaching to…open a coffee shop? I think I speak for all his students when I say that we were a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, we were eager to support his new ambition.
Partnering with his brother and several local farmers, Beard Brothers Coffee was created. When you walk through the door, a fresh wave of intoxicating scents and smiling faces will greet you. Looking around, a distinctive style of décor awaits to pique your interest. The walls are colored a holly green and covered in paintings and pictures like fables with oriental frames. There’s a plate with a 3-D town popping out of the wall and an old-fashioned candlestick holder. There’s a standing bookshelf covered in knickknacks, tiny statues and sculptures and books bound with tales. There’s even a little plant in a miniature pot sitting politely at every table.
But where to sit? There’s a long bar against one wall covered with windows, where you can perch on a stool and stare out at the cars passing by. There are a few booths against the other wall where you can crowd in with your friends. In the center of the room, round tables with wooden chairs await your company. The best spot? It’s hard to pass up the fireplace. Several cushioned chairs invite you to relax, perfectly positioned on a decorative rug and surrounding a little table topped with a game of checkers. If you look too hard at what you see, it might just remind you of grandma’s house.
There’s one more thing that may be important to potential customers: how’s the food? It’s excellent. There is a wide variety of coffees and teas available any way you like it, from espresso, to chai latte, to the classic sweet iced tea. Plus, everything is sourced from local farmers and producers to offer the best ingredients. This goes particularly for the food menu, which changes daily. You can find breakfast and lunch items written on a chalkboard inside and posted to their Instagram page, @beardbrotherscoffee. Some highlights include bagels, French toast bake, burritos, breakfast biscuits, cannolis, scones, muffins and Benton’s bacon.
They offer food and drinks in house and to go, so you can sit down to study or just stop in for a sip and skedaddle. The atmosphere is perfect for catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, or working on that assignment you haven’t started. We’re closer to the end of the year than many of us want to believe, so if you’re looking for a new study spot, consider giving Beard Brothers Coffee a try.