Coffee BuzzGAMBIER, Ohio (June 7, 2012)
Wiggin Street Coffee promises to perk up Gambier's coffee palate as Middle Ground closes its doors on June 15.
The new coffee-specialty shop plans to open in the space at Wiggin Street and Gaskin Avenue on August 1 after some renovation work and the installation of new kitchen gear. The emphasis is on quality beverages supported by sustainable and ethical practices.
Joel and Margaret Gunderson, who opened Middle Ground in October 2003, decided to sell the business in order to devote more time to the Village Inn restaurant and to their family life with three children. The Village Inn will bring lunch service back in August and its menu will include favorite items now served at Middle Ground.
"It's been great," Margaret Gunderson said of her time at Middle Ground. "We are taking our love of food and moving it next door. We'll bring some of the food that's been successful (at Middle Ground) to the Village Inn, and we'll take our local organic offerings, too."
The Village Inn kitchen and operations will be revamped to provide quicker, take-out lunches as well as the opportunity for more leisurely, sit-down dining at lunch and dinner. The couple opened the Village Inn in March 2007 with Gerald Kelly, a partner who helps run the restaurant and bar, and a silent partner.
"We're hoping that what comes next is even better," Gunderson said. "We want to elevate the Village Inn to its potential."
The owners of Wiggin Street Coffee - the father-and-son team of Mark Forman and David Forman - also operate One Line Coffee, a wholesale, coffee-roaster business based in Heath, and the River Road Coffee House with shops in Newark and Granville. David Forman said the new business will "embrace the community," and he expects it to remain a student hangout, a place to socialize, study, and hold meetings.
"Our focus is always on coffee. That's what's really important," he said. "Our philosophy and concept is being able to produce coffee that is sustainable and ethical - coffee that we feel good about serving. Students at Kenyon have a high level of ethics when it comes to food and beverages."
The Formans travel to Central and South America and work with importers that allow them to trace their beans to individual farmers."If all parts of a supply chain aren't beneficial to all the people and land involved, then the end product is not sustainable," he said. Cups and lids are also made of recycled products. "We really have gone all out," Forman said. "We want to make sure that at the end of the day we're proud of what we do."
Wiggin Street Coffee will have a coffee bar and the menu will feature smoothies, iced and frozen drinks, and espresso-based beverages including latte and cappuccino drinks. Pastries, bagels and some light lunch options will be offered.
Kenyon owns the Village Inn and Wiggin Street Coffee buildings, and Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said the rebirth of lunch at the Village Inn sustains dining options in the village. Wiggin Street Coffee, he said, is "a good fit."