Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site

Coffee, Tea, Community


Des Moines Register

January 23, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

News that La Mie will open a cafe in downtown Des Moines' new public library this spring is another example of how places for people to gather are popping up all over.

To see for yourself, stop by the new Caribou Coffee on Ingersoll Avenue near 31st Street in Des Moines. Located in the former Burger King building, it looks like a cozy ski lodge inside. Most tables were filled on a recent Sunday night.

Then check out the Midtown Art Cafe, which opened this month in the food court in Kaleidoscope at the Hub in downtown Des Moines. It's the second location of the cafe with the same name in Sherman Hill.

And watch for Amici Espresso shops. Kyle Krause, Kum & Go CEO, told the Register's Patt Johnson that the first one will open in a couple of months. It will be like a Starbucks, with locations in Grimes and West Des Moines, among other places.

It isn't just the coffee or tea customers seek. It's the company. Sometimes they want conversation with friends, or a place to study with classmates. Other times, they want a corner for reading a good book but don't want to be home alone.

This trend is just right for Iowa. It builds on two traditions: small-town cafes and a soul-satisfying sense of community.