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Walla Walla's Hardback Coffee Cafe

Updated on June 24, 2013
An Attractive Barista Station
An Attractive Barista Station | Source

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...

Exterior Shot of Hastings Entertainment
Exterior Shot of Hastings Entertainment
Hardback Coffee Cafe:
617 South 9th Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA

get directions

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.

Hardback Cafe, Exterior Shot
Hardback Cafe, Exterior Shot

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.

A "Punny" Poster with Brochure and Egg Nog Latte in the Foreground
A "Punny" Poster with Brochure and Egg Nog Latte in the Foreground

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.

I Just Love the Clever Posters!
I Just Love the Clever Posters!

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.

With No Apologies to Dickens...
With No Apologies to Dickens...

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.)

Nothing Fancy...Just Welcoming and Comfy!
Nothing Fancy...Just Welcoming and Comfy!

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!

I'll Take a Rain Check on This Section Until the Next Sunny Day!
I'll Take a Rain Check on This Section Until the Next Sunny Day!
Here...let me get the next one for you!
Here...let me get the next one for you!


Submit a Comment

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Hello, my friend, and thank you for your gracious comments. I also appreciate the fact that you shared this hub with others. I have been well, thank you, and busy with my eBay work. Still, it's always a pleasure to get back to this wonderful community and give of myself with some adventuresome writing. : ) I pray that you're in good health and spirits as well! Always a pleasure to hear from you, my friend! Aloha!


  • livingsta profile image


    5 years ago from United Kingdom

    This was an interesting review. I also like the way the book's been written and this hub's been written. Enjoyed reading as always Joe.

    Voted up and sharing! Hope you are well and had a good week :-)


  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Funny wife just called from the hospital where she works to tell me about the upcoming 90 degree weather! About the same time you wrote the message. : )

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 

    5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    Joe, If it is raining in Walla Walla, imagine what it is doing in Eugene and Olympia... but it supposed to clear up and be 90 by Friday.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, Liz! I wonder if there are any Hardback Coffee Cafes in your area...if not, then I know there must be similar style franchises or independent coffee shops that combine good reading with great coffee. Knowing the lifestyle of an eBayer/writer, I can just imagine what's on your plate today. Mine is overfilled with Hub Challenge spaghetti--had another word in mind, but spaghetti is at least palatable. : ) Aloha, my Dunedin friend!


  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Ah, so Abilene is your birthplace, Jim! Congratulations! If I'm connecting the dots via Google, I do believe Abilene may have been the flagship site for Hardback Cafe. I hope that someday the place in Walla Walla can begin hosting good live music on a regular basis. Thanks for stopping by! It continues to rain here in Walla Walla, and my lawn is in desperate need of a haircut!

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 

    5 years ago from Hudson, FL

    This place sounds great! It's a long drive for me, but I'll keep it in mind.

    Aloha, Joe!

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 

    5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    Another good one Joe. Great stuff here, even mentioning the place of my birth Abilene, TX. Sounds like a great coffee shop alright. You should get a lot of free ones there for this great piece.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Mary! Wow! I should write about coffee shops more often! Ha-ha! I was just thinking I could parrot back what you just wrote and the accolades would fit you to a T! But I'll honor you this way instead on this unique end of June morning when--HOORAY!--it's finally not raining. In about an hour, I am going outside to mow my lawn. It is in definite need of a haircut, the grass reminiscent of the shags on hippies I have known. When I come back into the house and shower all that dirt and grime off of me, I will then be prepared to sit at my laptop and write with the frenzy of a shark in a school of tuna. When the cyclone settles, i will be singularly grateful that your beautiful and encouraging comments today had fueled my writing lawnmower, giving it just enough juice to finish the immense task that earlier had me overwhelmed and disgruntled. The process will repeat itself each day until the month is over, but for today, please know that you gave me a running start to get THIS phase of the job done. Thank you, my dear friend! I'm so glad we met and are thus able to share our writing and humor and aloha here on HP!


  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    5 years ago from New York

    Okay, so let's see you are an over-achiever, you 'grab' your audience right there in the first paragraph, no matter what you write about you keep us on the edge of our seat, you take awesome pictures, you give other people good ideas for hubs, you've walked 13.3 miles in one day, you are an important an encouraging presence on HP....need I say more? Well, that being said, yes, I will say more.

    I totally love your comments, your "wandering" mind often makes your comments more interesting than my hubs! Joe, only you could take a trip to the coffee shop and turn it into a really interesting and fun to read hub. Seriously. Only you can wander in a comment section on YOUR hub and make it about my hub. Here's to many more years on HP and much success my friend as you wind down on the 30/30!

    Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, and interesting. Oh and shared too.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, my friend, WND!

    You would like it here. Sometimes, I'm the only customer for hours, and that works well for when I'm working on Challenge hubs. : ) Well, I got a plateful of stuff to do, so I better get on back to work. Thank you for being a part of this. I always appreciate your visits. Aloha!


  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, thanks, Bill D!

    Yeah, just a simple place, and I'm truly surprised that it's not frequented more by the locals. Of course, I've never been there in the evening, and that might be when the action takes place. When I go on long walks where the chosen route runs through town, I stop in at Hastings for a restroom break. The management and staff are really laid back, in contrast to Starbucks' animated style--I like both places, but in terms of having peace and quiet to work on eBay or HubPages projects, HCC is my top pick. Thanks for stopping by to visit, Bill! Have a great week! Aloha!


  • wetnosedogs profile image


    5 years ago from Alabama

    What a great place to hub with friendly people who work there. The pictures are awesome and it does look homey. Just the way I like it. There is always that certain place that wants revisiting and this would be one of them. I don't think there is any around here, but I get to be such a homebody, I could be wrong. The joy of reading where other people venture and you always hub extraordinarily.

    Great going on this one. You are just knocking them out now.

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi Joe. Great review, sounds like my kind of place. Bill is right, you definitely possess an ability to draw your readers in and keep them there. No matter what you write about I am always on the edge of my seat.

    If I ever find myself in Walla Walla we'll definitely spend some time at the Hardback Coffee Cafe. I love the name!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Karen! Slow grind, but I keep on trucking. Hope to get two more done today. Best wishes to you, too! See ya!

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 

    5 years ago from Georgia

    Yay, number 13! I also like your introduction and the reference to a pregnant mother!!! Keep going, you're doing great! And don't forget...I'm still behind you...hee hee hee...don't look over your shoulder, I'm not actually in Washington state.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Bill! Yes, I thought you'd like it because it wasn't that green corporate outfit. Ha-ha! If I'm doing things well over time, it's because I learn a lot from you and others. I have the raw stuff, but the finesse comes from strategic ideas I glean from your immense library of writing. I tell you, Bill, you ain't a-kidding when you mentioned one time about how only a small percentage of followers actually visit on a loyal basis. Proportionate to my smaller numbers, I find the same thing to be true. Yet it's that core group from whom I learn the most about writing. So, I suppose, that's good in a way. I'm beginning to learn that the less distractions I have, the better, especially in terms of quantitative writing. I have yet to go read your blog post today, but it sounds interesting in terms of the relationship between quantity and quality. My break is coming up real soon, so I'll grab some coffee and check out the post. Alright, then, my friend, thank you once again for being the hub of that inner core, and I will see you around the next bend. Aloha!


  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Joe, I will gladly take a break from my writing to read this review, and of course I was not disapointed.

    Great introduction by the way. The mark of a good writer, the ability to grab the reader immediately and to not release them until every word has been savored.

    Well done my over-achieving friend. :) If I'm ever in the neighborhood I expect you to take me to this fine establishment where I will cheerfully order my vanilla mocha and enjoy your company.




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