– Anna Klassen
For many of us college kids who have little more than a few dollar bills and lint tucked in our back pockets, eating affordable is not preferable – it’s essential. And if you’re like me, facing the demons of the day can only be managed by starting off the morning with a cup, or two (or three..) of Jo.
In an attempt to cut back my spending, I invested in a fifty-dollar coffee maker. While this method of budget cutting worked for a few weeks, I soon found myself hankering for that perfect rich, caramel-colored, cream enriched-with-two-sugars cup, that I could simply not master on my own. While Starbucks seems to be the quick-fix in desperate situations, the lengthy lines and baristas shouting orders left me hankering for something more; I wanted an experience with my coffee.
Located on the corner of 14th Avenue and Pearl Street lies the chic yet unpretentious Vero. This Victorian home-turned-coffee shop offers a variety of caffeinated treats as well as sandwiches and breakfast foods, ideal for mornings when eating Raisin Bran for the fifth day in a row doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
The café Borgia is among one of the most popular drinks, said Cindy Casey, the manager who helped owner Sunny Seo start the coffee shop.
“The café Borgia is a fused mocha with fresh orange grind, cream and foam,” she said.
Aside from coffee, some of the store’s menu items include turkey, ham and bagel sandwiches, as well as waffles, and an assortment of salads.
Vero caters to coffee-lovers of all shapes and sizes, for students and professionals alike flock to Vero’s welcoming atmosphere.
“We are right on the brink between the college campus and the professional buildings, so we get a good mix,” Casey said.
“My first impression of Vero was driving by it one sunny afternoon after it had opened,” Mora Reinka, a Vero regular and University student, said. “I noticed the outdoor patio was full of friends, couples and businessmen having coffee, so I made a mental note to go check it out.”
With its free wireless Internet, staff made up of entirely college students and proximity to campus, Vero could easily become a staple spot for many students, although in some ways, I sort-of hope it doesn’t. While Vero is certainly not destined to become the next Starbucks, its quaint charm and warm atmosphere have already drawn in a number of “regulars.”
“I can see myself sitting at a window table, latte in one hand, computer in front of me, while the rain pours down outside and I try to finish a psych paper,” Reinka said.
Not only does Vero accommodate a large audience, it is also perceptive of Eugene’s organic community. “We serve Stumptown coffee, and all of our sauces and syrups are home made, all natural and no preservatives,” Casey said. “Vero’s coffee is certainly one of the best in Eugene, and I’ve been to a lot of coffee shops.”
Beyond serving natural drink and food items, Vero’s owner had a noble goal in mind for the store’s creation. “Sunny bought the house almost four years ago and spent three years getting it ready,” Casey said. “She had a vision for this house, and put in a lot of thought and hard work. She wanted a place where she could give back to the community, where you could come to meet people and feel right at home, as if it were her house.”
Even for the non-coffee-lovers, I would suggest a visit to Vero’s vintage interior or patio, simply to enjoy the scenery over a bagel sandwich. Crimson walls accompany hardwood floors and large, open windows.
“I was taken aback by how cute the place is. Vero has a sophisticated and inviting atmosphere, with a little quirk on the side. The furniture doesn’t all match and every chair is comfortable,” Reinka said.
For now, Vero is special, because it is left untainted by the morning rush of college kids looking to wake up for their 8 a.m. final or treat last night’s hangover. So if your searching for a place to swap stories with a friend over a hot drink, or perhaps avoid the Knight Library as your only place to study, Vero is certainly worth checking out.