10:38am BEAR CREEK COFFEE, 1541 North Parham Road bearcreekcoffee.com
*Note: BEAR CREEK COFFEE is a small, locally owned, franchise shop. I’m taking the step of reviewing it due to the fact that there are less than 3 in the Richmond area.
A coffee shop in the west end are few and far between, and finding one thats not a Starbucks or Panera Bread is rare indeed. Unfortunately for those who live in the west end, they don’t have the choices of locally owned coffee shops the residents that live in close proximity to the city have. As I venture out on a cool Monday morning, I came across one of the only coffee spot I on Parham Road in the Regency Mall area and decided to step into Bear Creek Coffee.
Its easy to pass by the Bear Creek Coffee because of the other colorful business signs that inundate the area, and being located in a strip-mall leaves it without a distinct external identity, but as you look into the large windows that make up the front of the shop it invites you to cross the threshold. Upon entering you immediately notice it’s a well designed shop.
The shop has a color palate of tans and browns that makes the interior seem bright and spacious. With the multiple chair and table combinations , the wicker furniture set, comfy chairs and the bar at the front of the store, it gives you plenty of places to sit and hang out with your cup of coffee and baked dessert from the counter.
The West End has tons of shopping opportunities for people to visit, but finding the right spot for a good cup of coffee from a locally owned shop will be quite the task. You’ll find you’re self giving in to Starbucks for your morning fix or you’ll just hold off till you get closer to the city. But if you’re in the Regency Mall area spending some cash, take a short ride to the Ridge Shopping Center and sit in at Bear Creek Coffee. They’ll have the perfect fix for your West End trip.
and with that said, on to the specs…
the place – what’s around?
Because it’s located amongst the multitude of suburban neighbor hoods and the shopping centers that accompany that modern lifestyle, everything is around. From a Fresh Market grocery store to a Walmart and the Regency Mall housing a Macy’s. So if you’re willing to brave the traffic out here, feel free to have at it.
coffee- good, bad or mugly?
It’s ok, the BEAR CREEK / SMOOTH RIVER was a little light to for me and kinda on the bitter side. I had the smaller sized BLUE BERRY muffin to go with it and that helped lay the bitterness of the coffee down some.
menu- bunch or linner?
They don’t seem to be set up for a meal, so if you looking for a sandwich or wrap, sorry, you’re out of luck. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, they’ve got you covered. With different lattes and desserts they have to serve up, it’s good for getting your day started or topping off dinner.
art – rotating or fixture?
Rotating – It looks like they have a great sense of community because of the colorful artwork that line the walls from JR Tucker High School art students. The massive mural that’s permanently on one of the walls is skillfully executed and takes up the space well and adds lots of color to an already nice interior.
music- overbearing or background?
Background- the music is a modern playlist without the annoying commercials you would get from cable radio, so it makes working and having conversations easy.
baristas- friend or foe?
Friend- It seems to be a one man show for right now so I’m guessing they know when its slow and when they need a larger crew. The barista was attentive to the other customers when they had to wait while he completed getting my cup and muffin.
noticeable regulars – “cheers” or who are these people?
Regulars- I’ve seen folks greeted by name as they came in get their cup, making it a warm place to visit. Becoming a regular here doesn’t seem like a hard task.
wi-fi – wi-not or wi-bother?
free wi-fi- And unlocked, so come on in grab you favorite beverage and get some work done. If you decide to do a super-duper hangout, make sure you make purchases from the dessert display as well.
seating & meeting – ample or not enough
Ample- with two comfy chairs at the front by the window, the set of wicker furniture in the center of the room under the huge mural, the bar that faces big storefront window and out to the parking lot, four round (4) tops and three (2) tops by the wall seating is definitely not a problem in Bear Creek Coffee.
workspace – second office or read the paper?
Read the paper- with all of the seating arrangements, its easy to find a place to get a lot of reading done, whether its reports or homework. The down side comes when you try to find a place to plug in your battery depleted laptop. For such a large space, there is only a few sockets along the wall, and they are widely spaced apart. Unless you have a good battery, bring the long cord and hope for the best.
clean or not so much
Clean- very clean
With all of the real estate around being taken up by so many businesses, you would think more coffee choices would be available. But with BEAR CREEK COFFEE tucked in amongst the specialty shops and department stores, it’s a sure point reference when needing to grab a cup of coffee to go or if you need a break from the constant flow of mall traffic.
Thanx for viewing.