Fuel Your Day at Blue Owl Coffee
Blue Owl Coffee is REO Town’s community connection for Michigan-roasted coffee, locally-sourced sweets, sandwiches and salads. Open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, Blue Owl hosts guest musicians every Friday night from 7:30-9:30 p.m. One wall houses regularly-rotating works by local artists and photographers. Currently on display is photography by Stephen Glynn and charcoal drawings by Tyler Crosswaite. An art class meets there once a month, and business or social groups can reserve the back room for small group meetings.
The owners – Nick Berry (the dreamer), Rich Whitman (the whatever-needs-to-be-dealt-with juggler), and Adam Klein (the mathmetician bookkeeper) – all loved coffee and decided REO Town needed its own neighborhood coffee shop and gathering place.
All had previous coffee shop experience with other area coffee shops. They started with the Blue Owl Coffee Bike at City Market. The bike is still a favorite at catered events.
If their names seem familiar, the three still perform as The Great Lakes Collective, with Nick on guitar, Rich on bass, and Adam as the lead singer. The blue owl is their record label, and the owl came to Nick one night in a dream. Nick says: “The owl was very real, and the eyes piercing, yet inviting, and he spoke to me. I was invited to follow the owl, as though he were a spirit, one who I could count on to guide me. So we just carried the owl over into this new venture.”
Rich observes: “I believe we achieved our vision of opening a space where there is something for everyone. Inside, we preserved the south wall which contains so much history. Originally, this was R.J. Christopher Grocery in the early 1890s. Patrons can sip on hot or cold brew coffee, with roasted beans sourced from various Michigan coffee roasters.
“We collaborate with Sweetie-Licious Pie Pantry in DeWitt for cookies, muffins and sweets, with Bricks’ (?) sodas (made from cane sugar) from Grand Rapids, milk from Mooville in Charlotte, and with MidTown Brewing for sandwiches and salads. Our coffees are not flavored with syrups, but rather with honey or essential oils from ___________, just down the street.
“So business-business connections are important to us, as well as our guests. All of our managers and baristas are trained to make every guest feel welcome, and if someone comes a few times, it’s likely their name and drink will be remembered.
Blue Owl also nurtures patrons’ talents. Chay Menke is an artist hoping to produce a comic book about what he’s learned in life. A sci-fi aficionado, he’s designed T-shirts that can be purchased for $25. Rich adds: “We want to see his venture succeed, so 70% of each T-shirt sold goes to support Chay’s entrepreneurial pursuit.
“There’s plenty of room for Wi-Fi access and small groups to meet. Outside, we have Adirondack chairs and umbrellas. Small business or community groups can reserve a table in the back for meetings. On Fridays from 7:30-9:30 p.m., we invite music groups to perform. Actually we’re open to suggestions, like an open mic night, singer-songwriter contests, readings, or improv. We see this as showcasing the talents of the community.
“We’ve only been open since May (2017), and we’re flattered that so many guests have become regulars. The Blue Owl has become a great connecting spirit for Reo Town and anyone who comes through the door and feels welcome.”
Blue Owl Coffee Company
1149 S. Washington Ave.
Lansing, MI 48910