It’s been a dozen years that Shenandoah Joe has been roasting coffee here in town. Talk mud with owner Dave Fafara, and you get an earful about the endless geekery one can undertake when it comes to those beloved brown beans. Just like its more-oft-discussed counterpart, wine, coffee is an agricultural product whose ultimate taste and texture is affected by a plethora of factors, from country of origin to the weather last September—and, of course, how it’s roasted.

It’s the appreciation for those sorts of nuances—the subtleties beyond the simple caffeine high—that Fafara likes to foster, and to that end he’s been letting customers sample his beans and pick his brain at the roastery off Harris Street for years. So his next move seems logical: He’ll move the roastery to a more high-traffic spot on Preston Avenue and turn it into a full-service coffeeshop.

Coffee snobs will be welcome at Shenandoah Joe, the long-established roastery that’s now expanding to include a java hangout.

“It’s going to be really really neat. People can talk to us while we’re roasting. It’s going to be really cool,” says Fafara, who’d obviously had his coffee the day we talked. Roasting on-site, he says, will allow him to offer a big selection of coffees—up to 25 on a given day, including three types of espresso—since he can serve a single portion of anything on hand. And, to continue the wine metaphor, he’ll do “cuppings”—that’s like a tasting, oenophiles—and feature, say, Guatemalan beans for customers to sip and compare.

As for food, this is purely about treats, folks. You’re looking at pastries and desserts. Fafara says he’ll get them from four local bakeries who’ve been coffee customers—Chandler’s Bakery, HotCakes, From Scratch Bakery and Breadworks. “It’s all about the joe,” says Fafara; sandwiches and soups would only interfere.

The spot in question is a newly refurbished building near Martin Hardware, to which Fafara is now putting the finishing touches—paints and stains. He plans to open in mid-May, so start getting your jones on now.

They’ll be right there

Noelle Parent and Austin Yount are distressed to think that anyone might be stuck in the cubicle wasteland of Route 29N without a hot dog. Figuring that, with traffic and all, it might be tough for the hungry to make it to the grub, they’re bringing the grub to the hungry. As of mid-April, their Curbside Catering Co. is operating as a sort of diner on a truck; it rolls from office to office, delivering breakfast and lunch to order.

As Parent describes it, the vehicle is a sort of cross between a UPS truck and a well-equipped RV. “The sides open up and we have an entire kitchen inside—sinks, grills, fryers, hot boxes and cold boxes,” she says. With this getup, they can run a mobile greasy spoon and charge down-home prices: under $4 for a BLT or a breakfast pita, or a taco salad for $5. They’ve got burgers, chicken fried rice, egg rolls and biscuits and gravy. Parent also let slip about a dessert special that might roll off the truck: Snickers bars covered in funnel-cake batter and fried.

More for your money, in other words. The truck follows a set route, and workers lucky enough to toil near one of its stops can call ahead and order up their heart’s desire for breakfast or lunch.

Parent and Yount, who are engaged, are local natives who have worked in the food biz “as long as I can remember,” Parent says. She put in some time at Foods of All Nations and Young has worked at the Birdwood Grill at Boar’s head Inn. Check in at 882-2141 to see if you’re on their route.

Got some restaurant scoop? Send tips to or call 817-2749, Ext. 48.

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