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Taste the Town: Coffee shops bring the community together

Editor’s Note: Taste the Town is a four-part summer series that will run every other week for four weeks and will feature local restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, cafes and delis to bring the community to try new places that are in their backyard. The following interview with The Sawhorse Cafe was completed prior to their announcement of the business indefinitely closing on Monday.

Local coffee shops provide the best atmosphere that summer has to offer — refreshing drinks, outdoor seating, local art and music performances.

The Greater Williamsport area is home to a number of coffee shops like Gateway Cafe and Avenue 209 that provide welcoming spaces for customers to sit and enjoy.

Catering to customers

Gateway Cafe, a local favorite, has an extensive menu and services that caters to all customers.

The coffee shop, located at 1145 Allegheny St. in Jesey Shore, which has been opened since 2009, offers a large assortment of beverages, homemade food, in house made desserts and event catering services.

The cafe is owned and operated by Jenn Gottsch and her father, Doug Gottsch.

“We started out doing just coffee and we did have some specialty drinks and we did some food but as we kept going and growing, we kept adding things to the menu, changing it up, getting different things,” Jenn Gottsch, owner of Gateway Cafe said.

The cafe now offers breakfast sandwiches, eggs, omelets, pancakes, french toast as well as a lunch menu that includes sandwiches, salads, white cheddar mac and cheese, specialty melts paninis, wraps, club sandwiches and more.

“Every single month we change our drinks. We do special coffee drinks and we do specials each month,” Gottsch said.

The cafe also does a dinnertime special every Friday night, events, and catering.

“We do like platters. We do like sandwich platters and fruit platters and veggies and those kinds of things go out of here,” Gottsch said.

One of the cafe’s best selling beverages is “the lotus drink” — an energy drink that is made with natural ingredients. The shop often makes lotus drinks special, with new flavors and blends.

“I just love the creativity of coming up with drinks — that’s super fun. Just being able to be creative with drinks and food and stuff like that. I think that that’s super cool to be able to use your creativity in different ways,” Gottsch said.

As a business owner, Jenn enjoys seeing returning customers, and building relationships.

“I love when you have your regular people that come in and you know what they’re getting — that’s pretty awesome,” Gottsch said.

This summer, Gateway Cafe will have different events and specials, including an Appetizer & Dessert Night on July 22 and Shark Week Drink Specials that will run from July 25 to July 30.

“We’re gonna do like charcuterie boards and just have different appetizers and dessert,” Gottsch said.

Gateway Cafe can be found on Facebook for updates on specials and upcoming events.

A Home Away From Home

Avenue 209 has been welcoming customers with coffee, art, music and more since its opening in 2009.

The coffee shop, which is located at 209 Bellefonte Ave. in Lock Haven, is owned by Common Place Church.

The idea to open the coffee shop began with the intention of being a welcoming communal spot, where people could come to relax and connect with others.

“You have a home and you have work. And a coffee shop is kind of that third place where you can go relax, but not have to be weighed down by home and work and that kind of thing. And we thought that it would be a good place to make relationships and be able to talk to people, form bonds — just to be a part of the community,” Jared Conti, manager of Avenue 209 said.

Jared has been helping the coffee shop operate since it opened in 2009, and has been manager for the last five years.

The coffee shop holds church services every Sunday.

“I think it’s a nice, easy field for people that have either been hurt by the church, or looking for something. You walk into a coffee shop, and it’s a more natural feel. It’s a neat model. And a lot of other churches are trying to branch out into that — meeting in places where other folks are already at any kind of meeting people where they are,” Conti said.

Avenue 209 often displays local art and holds music performances, spoken poetry, vintage pop-ups and more.

“Being open to everybody, being open to the community. It’s needed. I think being a cultural place helps with that as well, with art and music. That’s kind of already that helps them bridge that gap,” Conti said.

The coffee shop has an assortment of beverages including coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, iced tea, frappes, bottled soda, fruit juice, kombucha and more.

They also have unique baked goods, provided by a local baker.

“She just does really eclectic things — she’ll throw salt on top of chocolate chip cookies. It just makes it a completely different dessert,” Conti said.

The coffee shop also offers its own apparel, vintage comic books, art prints and more.

Avenue’s menu and upcoming events can be found at Avenue’s Facebook, Instagram and website at www.avenue209coffee.com.

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