Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cuppa Joe

Building 50, which houses Cuppa Joe and many other businesses and residences, is the most well known building at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is an ancient and sprawling complex. It has an intensely industrial feel about it, as it should, it is the former Traverse City State Hospital after all. That's hospital for insane folks, not hospital for sick ones, FYI.

One of my very good friends became a very good friend byway of this place. Before renovations began in earnest on all of the many buildings making up this campus, it was a creepy, derelict old beast that dominated a picturesque chunk of land. Needless to say, it was fun to walk around in. Granted, that wasn't entirely encouraged, but folks did it anyway. This slightly illicit activity is how my friend and I came to be.

Nowadays, you'll find an actual, vibrant community within the many walls of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons you'll find multiple shops, activities, food marts and eateries. One could easily spend a leisurely afternoon and evening perusing the many offerings of this place, especially on a warm summer's night when the lawn in front of Building 50 is full of revelers or relaxers partaking in one of the many festivals or events that take place there. 

Yoga on one side, coffee on the other.

One of the many oft missed gems hidden within the vast expanse of this amazing complex is Cuppa Joe, a coffeed up destination beloved by locals and savvy visitors alike (like the ones who read this blog, for example).

Traverse City's Cuppa Joe is a much loved coffee destination. But don't forget the food!

But Cuppa Joe is much more than just a coffee joint, it's an entire dining solution!

What in the world does that mean? Basically, it means that it's a full service breakfast and lunch joint. Lovely!

A surprisingly modern motif greets Cuppa Joe patrons after entering the century (and more) old Building 50.

Now, these guys are definitely known for their delicious, refreshing coffee. It's "Earth and People Friendly", as they say. They always have a grand selection of coffees from around the world and coffee drinks that will certainly delight the senses. They also do a fantastic smoothie! My favorite is the Cherry Bomb, both because it is delicious and because it is the name of one of my favorite local sports teams! 

The Cherry Bomb consists of tart cherries and a splash of vanilla. Yum! They also have the Calypso, another of my favorites. This one is quite tropical! Banana, coconut and pineapple juice.

Speaking of frozen things, you have to try the frozen chai latte! The frozen drinks are all $4 or $4.50 and the smoothies are all $4.50 or $5. Nice!

Scenes from Building 50's  past decorate the walls at Cuppa Joe in Traverse City.

Breakfast brings a faithful crowd to Cuppa Joe. The various professionals that inhabit the surrounding offices and businesses of the Village, along with the residents of the luxury condos and apartments all gravitate to Cuppa Joe for their morning fast breaking ritual.

There's breakfast burritos and breakfast bagel sandwiches. The burritos go for $6.50 and the bagel sandwiches are a steal at $3.95!

I usually gravitate toward to San Luis or the Havana burrito.

The San Luis includes two fresh eggs, smoked andouille sausage, roasted poblano pepper, potatoes and cheddar cheese, while the Havan sports two fresh eggs, ham, black beans and cheddar cheese. Good stuff yo!

Cuppa Joe. In this case, it means "good food" too!

 Lunch is where the menu tends to open up. Be sure to check the various boards for daily specials.

The lunch menu consists of salads, a soup or two/three of the day, wraps and grilled paninis. Salads range in price from $6.50-$7.95. The soup is $3.75 for a bowl and $2.75 for a cup. The wraps range in price from $5.95-$6.50 and the paninis range from $5.95-$6.95. All of these prices rock, by the way.

Don't miss out on a wander around the Mercado after you dine at Cuppa Joe.

Highlights of the lunch menu include Ray's Salad (salami, ham, provolone cheese, feta cheese, onion, cucumber, red pepper, oven roasted beets, kalamata olives and mixed greens served with the homemade Greek dressing), the Baja Beef wrap (sliced roast beef, colby jack cheese, fresh homemade salsa, mixed greens and creamy ranch dressing), and the Quebec Blue panini (sliced roast beef, blue cheese crumbles, bacon and caramelized onions).

The hallways go on forever in Building 50, with a pleasant surprise around every corner.

For those of you that do not enjoy the taste of meat, no worries, Cuppa Joe has some tasty veggie selections as well, including the Vegout wrap (hummus, cream cheese, sweet onion, carrot, cucumber, sweet red pepper, sunflower seeds and mixed greens).

And don't miss out on a wander around the grounds. Some of the buildings have yet to be renovated. Great picture taking opportunities abound at Traverse City's old State Hospital.

I love the experience of this place. Yeah, it's in the newer part of Building 50, but you can still feel the disturbingly amazing history that surrounds you. If you check this place out, do yourself a favor and allow for some walking around time! The halls that can be followed beyond Cuppa Joe will bring you past some unique and perfect pieces of art, storefronts and food paradises. Like I said, this a community unto itself. Then, when you've traversed as far as you can traverse within the walls, take a step outside and peruse the grounds of this grand old institution. Not only are some of the buildings still in their history oozing state of decay (not for long, but some yet remain that way), but, if you take a wander down one of the many well travelled hiking trails that lay behind the main grounds, you'll experience nature and history all rolled into one! 

To walk where the "insane" have tread. To dine where the unknown occurred. The Village at Grand Traverse Commons has taken what was once a mythical and fearful place and turned it into one of the most amazing examples of urban renewalism I have ever seen!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush) 

No comments:

Post a Comment