On Tuesday, April 16, I had the pleasure to visit The Coffee Quarter Roastery in California, MD, for a late lunch. Coffee Quarter, a versatile coffee shop that specializes in its home roasted coffee as well as its deli sandwiches, homemade desserts, and assorted goodies, is a hidden gem of St. Mary’s County. Nestled in between Monterey’s and Bollywood Masala, Coffee Quarter is a warm and welcoming full-service coffee shop that provides an excellent meeting place, or a study hotspot. The lighting in Coffee Quarter is dim but sufficient, coupled with rich mahogany floors that keep the fresh aroma of newly roasted coffee beans tightly swathed in the building.
Upon entering Coffee Quarter, I was greeted by the friendly “hellos” of two young ladies working behind the counter, an incredibly large stainless steel coffee grinder near the entrance, and the warmth of my mother’s kitchen. After reviewing the menu and deciding what I fancied, I ordered the turkey bacon cheese melt, a specialty according to a local who was eating at a table close to the door.
After ordering I went and took a seat at one of the many solid wooden chairs; I passed on the comfy leather couches and armchairs in the back of the restaurant because I was worried that the sweet smell of fresh cocoa, espresso and melting cheese would overpower me and send me into a much-needed siesta. Four minutes later my sandwich, as well as a medium hot chocolate and a medium strawberry smoothie (coffee is not a favorite of mine) were brought to the counter and I promptly retrieved them. The sandwich was to die for: the bacon was crisp, the turkey was warm and the bread was toasted and allowed the cheese to melt down the sides of the sandwich. Even the hot chocolate and fresh smoothie were utterly marvelous. The only caution I would give is that my meal, with tax, cost $15.54, not cheap but certainly worth it when you look at the portions and the relief my taste buds felt from eating another trite lunch on campus.
Aside from the food’s decadence the atmosphere was enticing in its own right. With chintz armchairs, and a sprawling leather couch, the back of the restaurant looked more like an evening lounge than a coffee shop. Interestingly enough, Coffee Quarter does serve beer and wine at night and has their own happy hour.
With free WiFi, large amounts of caffeine, and homemade desserts, Coffee Quarter makes for an excellent work location as well as a meeting place for job interviews or even an off-campus study spot for someone sick of the monotony of exam preparations.
But if somehow the luring homemade sandwiches do not sell Coffee Quarter’s prowess to you, how about a good cause? Coffee Quarter donates 5% of their revenue to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, helping eligible servicemen and women with financial needs post-duty. The clean, friendly tavern with a Panera-esque atmosphere earned an easy 4 out of 5 stars, leaving me looking for another excuse to head to Coffee Quarter and try a dessert or two.