The Salt Lake Coffee Break: A Late-Night Coffee Shop Reaches Out To Students

By By Alex Lee

By Alex Lee

It’s almost midnight on a Friday. Most of the customers at the Salt Lake Roasting Company have left, and the coffee shop’s employees are going through the routine of closing the caf. Just a block up the street is the newer Salt Lake Coffee Break, and the party seems to be just getting started.

The patio is packed. Students with laptops are still studying on tables inside, while many more are relaxing in the sofa lounge.

A long-time favorite among college students, the Roasting Company has been a study hall for caffeine addicts. Customers used to linger long after the caf’s midnight closing time. Realizing the need for a late-night alternative, the Coffee Break has been attracting many of the same young clientele that used to squat at the Roasting Company.

The Coffee Break actually has a very similar look and feel to the Roasting Company?a relaxed mom-and-pop styled neighborhood coffee shop, walls decorated by tapestries, serving a variety of homemade cakes. Both also offer a small menu of light meals, which include soups, salads and sandwiches.

But the Coffee Break has added several features that appeal to its young audience. It’s open late, until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. Facing the revamped 400 South, the Coffee Break’s large, open patio is the place to be seen. Smokers love taking drags out there all year round, thanks partly to the heat lamps. In the back, a sofa lounge doubles as an art gallery.

Another selling point to the hip crowd is the Coffee Break’s cakes, which are all vegan. They’re not bad; but without any egg or dairy as binding agents, the cakes are a little crumbly and less creamy. If you’d rather not jump on the vegan bandwagon, the Coffee Break also offers regular baked goods that are made by a third party.

Comparing the two 400 South coffee shops, another immediate difference you’d notice is the much smaller selection of coffee at the Coffee Break. The Roasting Company offers a chalkboard-full variety of coffee beans. It buys the selections from small plantations all over the world and serves one of them as the coffee of the day. The Roasting Company also roasts its beans to maintain better control of the process.

Although I am a night owl and welcome later hours among local establishments, I’m still a Roasting Company fan. The cakes and pastries are just fabulous. Coffee lovers of all ages would also feel more comfortable there than with the exclusively younger set at the Coffee Break.

The Roasting Company lost a lot of business, but, fortunately, I probably don’t need to worry about the Roasting Company’s future. I think the market will be big enough to support more good coffee shops, especially when Library Square is finished. Books and coffee just go together.

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