Walla Walla's Hardback Coffee Cafe
Ferocious winds pummeled the Walla Walla Valley last night.
The sounds of sundry items being tossed about in the unprotected carport and the eerie moans of the whipped-up air slipping through the partially opened windows of my home triggered thoughts of how the air show would have been more appropriate for Halloween.
That, and the fact that I had to get up extra early to make it down to the Walla Walla General Hospital for some bloodwork, dressed this already dreary morning with a rather Draculian atmosphere.
I need to pick my spirit and energy level up! Got tons of work to do! This was my mission statement as I boarded the bus in front of Loney's Harvest Foods and sat halfway between my eBay research and the unwritten article that was picking at the edges of my brain.
(I don't build outlines for my writing. To describe my mad/creative method, let me offer up this visual. Imagine, if you will, a woman pregnant with multiple babies whose birth days happen to be on different dates...I mean, how irritating would that be? That's my hub-creating brain in a nutshell, no pun intended!)
I stopped over at Super 1 Foods and picked up a couple of muffins. At this point, I knew where I was going to settle in for the morning to write my next post. (You're reading it, by the way.)
There's this place across the street...
Not too long ago, I dropped in and browsed through Walla Walla's Hastings Entertainment to check out the DVD rentals and both new and used books for sale. While there, I sauntered on over to the Hardback Coffee Cafe, an adjunct to Hastings and yet its own separate entity.
What a wonderful reception I received from the young women who were working that day. They both demonstrated excellent customer skills, personable and helpful in a small town, family-friendly way that superbly transcends the familiar canned reception one might get at a more corporate, metro-trendy coffee shop.
I promised myself that I would return in the near future to post about this wonderful haven.
Today, I'm following through on that promise. Besides, what a great way to counter the doldrums.
As it turned out, I was soon blessed for having made this great decision. The lovely female barista offered me a sample of their holiday special, Egg Nog Latte, and--wow!--what a delicious concoction! I wasted no time in ordering a large cup of this heavenly autumnal delight. (I'm plugging this one, folks, because you'll find out for yourself what I'm talking about. The 20-oz. special was $5.16, after tax, and worth every penny of it! It's so much better than the version offered by the green-colored corporate coffee shop.)
To my appreciative delight, the young woman couponed the drink for me, her expressed gratitude for my writing a HubPages review of the Hardback Cafe. What a wonderful win-win relationship!
There are an abundant amount of tables and seats, both deli style and traditional living room furniture. I chose a seat alongside the wall directly facing the cafe's counter because I needed a plug-in for my laptop.
Over two dozen major beverage choices and a vast array of packaged coffees, assorted pastries, and containers grace the cafe shelves and display stands.
Throughout my two-plus hour stay here, a steady trickle of customers kept the barista quite busy. As a seated customer working on a writing project, the traffic was just right in terms of observing the appeal of this cafe without having to feel guilty that I might be overstaying my welcome.
In fact, both Hastings Entertainment and Hardback Cafe encourage people to read, study, or engage in computer work. It is certainly in keeping with the bookworm ambiance that keeps the two business entities entrepreneurially and pragmatically connected.
The comfy furniture, handsome hardwood floors, clever posters, and overall appealing decor of this hometown cafe make this a favorite hangout for an eclectic group of customers, as the barista appropriately described the cafe's patrons.
I love superb hot beverages and good reading, and so I have a special affinity for business establishments that provide both. The combination of Hastings Entertainment and the Hardback Cafe is a brilliant one, and it graces this Walla Walla Valley with an upper echelon touch of class. In short, I'm honored to be a citizen of this area, and the presence of this very successful business alliance ensures many a future return on my part and--if I have any say in the matter--others in my circle of influence.
Every now and then, Hastings Entertainment and the Hardback Coffee Cafe host special events. One year, for example, coinciding with the premier Walla Walla release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on November 7th, there was a special BOGO (Buy One, Get One free) event. Normally, the non-alcoholic caffeinated version of Happy Hour takes place each evening from 6 to 8 PM, but on special event evenings, the BOGO period is tripled. From 6 PM to Midnight, then, people of all ages who were dressed in Harry Potter regalia dropped in at the cafe. Fun and drinks for all!
Similar special events take place on the major holidays.
Every now and then, a prominent writer will be appear in person at Hastings. Two years ago, for example, famous children's author, Jan Brett, participated in a book signing event in the early evening. There was a line around the block for this special festive occasion, and the baristas were hopping between 5 and 7 PM.
For those readers who happen to have access to this coffee shop, there are definite perks for liking the Hardback Coffee Cafe on Facebook and signing up for their email specials. Doing either or both activities will provide you with hugely discounted coupons for Hardback's special beverages. (See the link below.)
Jeff Gore at Hardback Coffee Cafe in Abilene, Texas
As I draw to a close in my review, I just want to reiterate how grateful I am to have this special haven in which to journal my thoughts and impressions. More and more, I am privileged to discover special nooks and crannies in this beautiful Walla Walla Valley. And, just in case you were as sleepy-eyed and drowsy while reading this article as I was before arriving here this morning, allow me to underscore what really makes the Hardback Coffee Cafe experience a truly memorable one.
Employees who inherently have a handle on how to treat their fellow souls on Planet Earth are the integral part and parcel of what makes an establishment truly successful. It's good people like them who make a world of difference and a difference in the world.
As I leave the Hardback Coffee Cafe this early afternoon, the last sight I see as I close the door behind me is the outdoor seating area. It might not be a good place to sit today, the weather not at all conducive for outdoors leisure, but there will be many days in this picturesque valley when the sun is more sociable.
You just never know if and when life affords you the opportunity to visit Walla Walla. Should that door open for you, I encourage you to drop in at Hardback Coffee Cafe and meet the great staff there. You will note for yourself that everything offered here in this article was brilliant and true...well, at least the true part.
And if you're a Walla Wallan already, then by all means, get out of your gentrified comfy zone of a seat in that green-colored coffee shop and try something outside the box for a change...
And run, don't walk, to the Hardback Coffee Cafe!