Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mapping out coffee shops to percolate minds

Brigham Circle Diner is a mainstay for workaday folks during the week and for frantic local college students on the weekend.

I stopped by today to participate in a Google Mapping assignment for class. I ordered a cup of coffee for just $0.99, and I also ordered a few scrambled eggs, some potatoes and wheat toast to go with it.

The waitress poured the black bean brew. She asked if I wanted cream or sugar but I like it straight-up, no sugar-coating. She plopped this thick, off-white ceramic mug on the counter for me, still steaming. I grabbed a cup of water out a pitcher in the corner while I let it cool for a minute. Halfway through sipping down my coffee while catching a few headlines in The Globe -- Obama now allows lobbyists to work in White House? -- my food was up on the counter. Surprisingly, prompt service from a two-person staff: The ruddy chef in his apron swirled around the kitchen chopping stuff up while constantly frying as the waitress flickered from doing dishes, taking orders, wiping up tables and more.

The grub, suffice to say, was delicious! -- that gritty breakfast of champions, but not overly greasy, doused with hot sauce.

I took my time and grabbed another black coffee. I suspect a Columbian blend. It was not strong, but it certainly got my body going. I felt like I could have approached the counter and had the girl pour me cups all morning. I've found it to be a real friendly atmosphere.

That's all I got. They won me over. I'm easy but I know this place is quality.

As a supplement, here's an excerpt from a Boston Phoenix "Cheap Eats" column that came out in October, 2002, shortly after the store was founded:

There aren’t any big-haired waitresses, but the men behind the counter embody the surly-yet-sweet mix. The first cup of coffee was presented unceremoniously — plopped on the counter, not brought to the table — with a cursory, " Your coffee. " The second and third (the mugs are small) required approaching the counter and asking for refills. But then, after cup three, the man behind the counter walked by our table and paused. " How ’bout some more coffee? " he asked. I hesitated, thinking I’d had my fill. " Go on, " he said, smiling persuasively. " It’s cold out. " Surly had turned sweet.

Brigham Circle Diner, located at 737 Huntington Ave., is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

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