Corner Market Offers More Than Just Food and Flowers--Free Coffee Refills

Until this weekend, Roasted had come to associate the Corner Market with two things: food and flowers. For whatever reason--despite the fact that we had ordered flowers, food and coffee on several occasions in the past and despite living in the Lower Greenville area--Roasted just wasn't in the habit of thinking of the shop in the early a.m. when our caffeine addiction rears its groggy head.

And, according to one of Corner Market's baristas, Roasted isn't, er, wasn't, the only one to think this way--after all, the market's sandwiches and salads have earned 'em a "Best neighborhood restaurant" and "Best sandwich" nod from D magazines' past. Seems a lot of the folks who stop by the market for a sweet treat or a bite to eat end up ordering a latte or a cappuccino after they see the shop's classy Astoria espresso machine while waiting in line to pay for their food.

Which is more or less what happened on Sunday, when Roasted popped over to Corner Market for a snack while on a clothes shopping excursion at Buffalo Exchange.

It was 3:55 on dreary, drizzly afternoon when Roasted and our lady friend strolled in, but, before we got a chance to order a much-needed lemon white chocolate cookie, we were greeted by what--as far as Roasted's concerned--is one of the worst phrases on the planet.

"We're out of coffee...."

The barista instantly apologized.

The store was about to close, he explained (end of day's 4 p.m. on Sundays, as opposed to the much more convenient 8 p.m. closing time Monday through Saturday). So, the drip coffee had already been dumped.  

He offered to make us an espresso-based drink instead, and we left crunching on the delectable cookie and happily sipping on an excellent Americano, which for those who might not know, is made with nothing but straight shots of espresso and piping hot water. If the shots are good, then it should taste like a very smooth cup of joe.

An Americano, it's worth noting, is probably the safest, freshest, least eye-roll-inducing beverage one can order from a coffee shop at closing time. Why? Because it doesn't mess up the espresso bar area. And it also ensures that you, the customer, leave with a fresh cup of caffeine and not just the stale muddy remnants of an old batch of coffee that's been sitting around for an hour or two while the baristas get the store ready to lock up for the night.

Or, in this case, the afternoon.

So, with the great end-of-day service and better-than-average Americano on Sunday, Roasted decided to head back to Corner Market first thing Monday.

And at just before 7 a.m. the shop's posted opening time, Roasted found a parking spot near the front entrance, which, honestly, can be a quite a challenge during peak breakfast and lunch hours.

Outside, the quaint patio tables and umbrellas were already set up, and inside the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and fresh-cooked bacon filled the deli's café.

The same barista who closed the shop down on Sunday was back, opening up the shop today.

"We have coffee now," he said, offering another apology for what he seemed to think had been a bad experience. We assured him no apologies were needed and then ordered a cup of the shop's house coffee, which is a light-roasted Tanzanian Peaberry from a local roaster.

When quizzed, the barista explained that if they don't make something in the shop, then it's produced fresh locally for them. For example, every morning the shop gets its bread for the sandwiches and the scones, cinnamon rolls and muffins, from Empire Baking Company. The herbs the shop uses are from a local grower. And the shop's coffees come from Grand Prairie-based Metro Coffee Grouppe.

And, after ringing up Roasted for the $1.50 cup of coffee, the barista uttered one of Roasted's favorite phrases: "Refills are free."

So, coffee in hand, and with the intention of drinking at least one free refill, we found a seat to people watch. The seating in Corner Market is adequate, and comfortable with plenty of chairs and tile-topped tables, but it should be noted that when the place fills up it really feels full. But not so much in the early a.m. hours.

And, from the minute the shop opened until about 8:30 in the morning, the majority of the traffic seemed to be pedestrian, as folks walked in from the surrounding neighborhood.

Mostly guys and gals dressed in business casual for the first two hours, then some couples breezed through grabbing coffee and a muffin or a latte and one of the shop's Chipotle-sized breakfast burritos, which, priced under $5 are a real steal. (Certainly a better deal than the $3 scones and muffins.) But, as the morning wore on, and café tables inside started to fill up, so too did the nearby parking spots.

But, hey, that's what the M Streets are for, right? 

Corner Market
3426 Greenville Ave.