Dunn Brothers Coffee has been beloved of Central students for years. Their new location and ambiance has departed from what made the old shop unique.
In many ways, the new Dunn Brothers Coffee shop on Canal Street is like the old shop a block away from Central High School. As usual when I walked in, I found myself surrounded by people huddled over their computers and others happily enjoying a nice mid-day cup of coffee and small talk with the person beside them. Besides that, however, there was very little the new Dunn Brothers Coffee had in common with the old location.
On the south side of the room the baristas were busy making coffee and taking orders. Right by the front door was a long counter where seating was available to look out the large windows that monopolized the majority of the north side wall. In the middle of the room, a small fireplace stood a few feet off the ground. It was supported by a white, wall-like structure that started on the floor and expanded up to the ceiling. Straddling both sides of the fireplace were two long tables with benches on each side that resembled picnic tables.
Farther into the coffee shop was another, separate room. Inside it had an eerie resemblance to a classroom, consisting of hardwood tables in rows and grey, metal chairs. If the walls were not brick, they were white, while the framing of the windows was black.
Though one of their baristas, David Gausman, seemed thrilled about the location change, stating the new location was “an all-around cleaner, sharper look” with a “new-place kind of feeling,” I am not convinced.
Dunn Brother’s Coffee accomplished their goal of making a more modern coffee shop, but in doing so they lost touch with the homey, one of a kind feel the old location was famous for. Instead of comfy chairs and padded booths, they chose metal chairs, wood benches, and black chairs that looked like they belonged in an office building. The décor’s colors consist of a limited pallet of black, grey, and white with a few brick accent walls. As for the fireplace: it was a sad and small replacement for the old location’s beautiful rustic fireplace.
Dunn Brothers Coffee now has a modern feel. But in return, the originality of the coffee shop has been lost. Instead of being a coffee shop that stands out, they are now another one that blends in with the masses.
Photo: Dunn Bros & MacBook by Tony Webster on Flickr