By ANN ALI ∙ firstname.lastname@example.org
Part coffee shop, part pub, part patio hangout and part fun aunt's house.
Baristas Café and Pub in New Martinsville manages to be all those things and more.
From its purple front porch with a hanging chalkboard sign to its brightly colored, mismatched dining room furniture scattered around a fireplace and church pews with several books, magazines and even a Yahtzee game on a shelf, visitors are beckoned to stay as little or as long as they like.
And that's just the main floor of the old house on North Main Street.
Baristas Café, minus the pub, got its start 15 years ago across the street from its current location when Jill Shade and Jeff Shade, who were married at the time and living out of the area, wanted their young son to be near his grandparents.
"We didn't want to work at the plant … so we started a coffee shop," Jill explained.
The Shades later collected John and Mary Ann Yevuta, who were fans of the coffee shop, when the café moved across the street because the home came up for sale, and they added the pub in the basement of the home. The newest addition is the brick oven pizza from the back porch.
The shop has become a second home for the group of owners — not only because they spend so much time there, but also because of the hospitality they extend and the glimmers of their personalities that shine throughout.
"None of us have any restaurant experience," Jill said. "What we all have in common is a love of food and cooking.
"It's like having a bunch of people over for dinner, which is a feeling I've always wanted to go with."
John Yevuta said the pub serves his and Jeff Shade's selfish desire for bringing craft beers to town, with a rule that Budweiser or Bud Light never be served on their four taps, but they're still big sellers in bottles. Baristas is a non-smoking establishment by choice.
The extensive café drink menu includes lattes, espresso chai and a "fruit-n-tea freeze."
And the menu often stretches the norms of what is typically found in New Martinsville, such as the feta and strawberry grilled cheese sandwich with pepper jelly, basil and spinach, but there is always a pizza to be had from fresh-made dough, a burger or a custom-made, open faced brick oven sandwich for the more tame palates.
"There are still some people not sure about what we are or what we're doing, like there's that stigma that we're all health food," Jill Shade said.
The relaxed atmosphere carries over to special events, such as live music on Friday nights, impromptu bean bag toss matches and bicycle nights, for group rides which often end with euchre tournaments.
The baked goods displayed on the front counter are homemade from scratch by volunteer labor from the owners' parents (a recent visit offered peanut butter sheet cake, chocolate chip cookies and raisin-filled cookies), and many of the vegetables and herbs for meals come from the Barista's garden.
Barista's has a demographic, the owners say, and that's just fine with them — as with most things at the easy-going café and pub.