After two weeks of traveling and busily attending other events, I found time for not one but two cafe visit this week–both on Saturday, too! Although the rain had kept me from going out to explore on Friday afternoon, it perfectly fit cafe-hopping the next day.
River Oaks Coffee House was not on my list of coffee shops to visit this summer, but when I peered up at the looming overcast sky after the Run for a Reason Kickoff Party, I realized that I needed to find somewhere near Memorial Park or I would get caught in the downpour. River Oaks was the first non-chain entry that popped up on my phone. I parked and ran inside just before the rain started.
I liked the warm interior, painted to look like stuccoed Roman walls. It felt homey to see the stove on the wall directly behind the counter. They did have plenty of seating and electric outlets, but only one couch area. I ordered a chai tea latte, one of my new favorite drink discoveries, and settled in to read Middlemarch for the rest of the morning. At first it was a great place to study. I loved the soft Classical music playing and most of the other patrons were reading the paper, studying on their laptops, or carrying on quiet conversations. But slowly more families and moms in the middle of running errands stopped in. It became louder as the morning wore on, especially when the barristas kept disappearing into the back so new customers had to shout to get their attention. In addition, the temperature changed often. True, I forgot my coat and I get chilly easily, but it was harder to deal with because one minute it would be warm enough, and the next I started shivering. Although it has many of the amenities for a great study space, this really is a family cafe.
I wouldn’t mind coming back to try some of their sweets if I’m in the area (and have my sweater with me), but this definitely won’t be on my list of regular haunts. At this point in my life, I want a space that compliments my free, artsy thoughts, not the day-to-day rush of soccer moms and growing families as they stop for a few minutes of food and caffeine-recharge only to bustle out into traffic again.