Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BEST OF GF: Coffee Shop

I'm starting another new feature here on Grand Forks Life. It seems like Open Threads have been very popular and the recent introduction of Pet Peeves also drew plenty of comments. So, since you guys have shown that you love to share your opinions, the new feature I'm introducing should be right up your alley.

"BEST OF GF" will be a series of posts/polls that attempts to gauge favorites within the community...Best Coffee Shop, Best Ethnic Food, Best Music Venue...you get the picture. I'm hoping that this will become another popular feature here.

So, here is your first chance to pick favorites. Which coffee shop in Grand Forks deserves to be called "BEST OF GF?" Cast your vote and then head on over to the comments section.


BEST OF GF: Coffee Shop
B&N Tower Cafe
Caribou Coffee
Coffee Company
Java Journey
Mountain Mudd
Porpoura
Starbucks (32nd)
Starbucks (Washington)
Starbucks (SuperTarget)
Stomping Grounds
Tabula
Urban Stampede
Other

UPDATE: Since there seems to have been some trouble/confusion over the type of poll I was using, I've switched over to another type of poll. I'm using the same kind of poll I've always used over on the left side of the blog. It might not be very pretty and it might not be integrated into the website itself, but I've never had any trouble with that type of poll before. All voting that has gone on today in this poll has been wiped out because of this change so...PLEASE VOTE AGAIN!

49 comments:

GrandForksGuy said...

I don't think I forgot any GF coffee shops, but if I did I can go back in and add them to this same poll. This poll website (micropoll.com) is really cool!

Elucidarian said...

I voted for Stomping Grounds even though the vote percentage says 0 (hmmmm).

My choice is based on price and quality. The coffee is good, maybe not the best in town, but good. The main part I love is the baked goods. Wow. The university really knows how to make some amazing monster cookies, filled croissants, well-sized muffins (Mocha Chip is best in town for coffee lovers). And, of course you pay less than you would for lesser quality, smaller quantity baked goods at just about everywhere else I've been (I really think Tabula would benefit from getting their bakery items from UND). I imagine because they're made on campus, UND can afford to charge less, but it also means the goodies may be fresher than other places, too.

As for environment, it's more of a stand than a shop, but then you have all of the Union to choose from for a place to sit and enjoy. To the right is the Internet Cafe with a row of computers, comfy leather furniture, and a new fireplace. To the left is the Loading Dock, a where there are TVs, more furniture, and sometimes entertainment. And right front outside the 'Grounds are a bevy of tall round tables, more specifically intended for customers.

wolfgf said...

GFG,

I don't know if this qualifies as a coffee shop, but I had the best presspot ever at Dakota Harvest.

Anonymous said...

I voted for other, but my vote is showing as Caribou.

Count me in for dakota harvest, they have coffee, so they qualify.

Anonymous said...

If you were to do a poll on "best burgers in town", grama butterwicks would win hands down for their buffalo burger.

I crave them and Red Pepper while living in Fargo.

dale said...

Naw, best burger is Campbell's.

Sadly, though, their terrible location (which could be another poll -- vote on the worst location in town) seriously cuts into their business. We were there for lunch on Sunday after church, and it was pretty much empty.

Anonymous said...

Web Poll problems on the Grand Forks Life Blog? How ironic considering all the shots you pointed at the city.

For what it's worth I still think your site is great, even if you don't have a reliable web poll.

Anonymous said...

Coffee Guy's most recent rant is suspiciously missing. I wonder what the deal is. Kidney failure perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Ok, kids, this isn't an Open Thread or Burger Poll, it's supposed to be about coffee.

Anonymous said...

What and where is Java Journey?

Rick said...

This is a great idear, GFG

GrandForksGuy said...

Hey guys, I think the problems you've been having with the poll have to do wiht the fact that you seem to have to refresh the page in order to see your vote actually displayed. That's why some people were voting for an option, but then seeing that option with 0%. I actually think every vote is being counted just once and for the correct option...it just has to do with this need to refresh the page. Maybe that micropoll.com website isn't so hot after all. Does anybody know of a web poll site that offers free polls with unlimited voting options and that can be displayed directly in a website (no new pop-up windows)?

GrandForksGuy said...

OK, since you guys thought something was "funny" about the last type of poll I was using, I've changed it. I'm now using the same kind of poll I've always used. Regretfully, all of your old votes were wiped out so....VOTE AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

GFG- Are you going to add Dakota Harvest?

GrandForksGuy said...

Well, with this new type of poll I actually can't go back in and add an option. Besides, Dakota Harvest is a bakery that happens to serve coffee. All of the other places in the poll specialize in coffee.

GrandForksGuy said...

BTW, I've been thinking...I don't think that I'm going to be able to include a poll with each of these "THE BEST" posts. For instance, if it was "THE BEST: Burger" or "THE BEST: Drinks", how could I ever come up with the right group of answers to completely include every place in town that serves those items and to completely make everybody happy with the provided answers? Most of these THE BEST posts are going to have to be just a discussion...not a poll. I just don't see how a poll could work in some of these posts...

GrandForksGuy said...

So anyways...back to talking about coffee shops.

And stop with the burger talk! We'll get to that later...

Coffee Guy said...

I have nothing to add.

Elucidarian said...

Java Journey

Serving Red Pepper "grinder" sandwiches, wraps, soup, ice cream, fresh baked goodies and of course, gourmet coffee.

Valley Dairy
1125 42nd St S

Anonymous said...

Coffee Guy,
Wouldn't you agree that even though the coffee is the main feature of a great coffeehouse, it's not the only feature? Location, decor, atmosphere, vibe, comaraderie, architeture, the staff, entertainment, community involvement, baked goods and sandwiches, history, etc., all play a roll.

Taking into mind all these aspects...I voted for Urban. We know how you feel about their product.

Coffee Guy said...

That's like saying the best restaurant in town is one that has horrible food, but it sure looks pretty inside and the swill gets served with a smile.

I'm not buying it.

Anonymous said...

Java Express, before it closed.

They had good coffee, and iced lattes.

OUWxGuesser said...

Best ethnic food in Grand Forks? Does such a place exist here? If so please spill the beans. I moved here in August and if there is one complaint I have it is the lack of diversity when it comes to restaurants.

bethski said...

I'm the only one that goes to starbucks on washington I see.

And campbells doesnt get alot of customers not because of the location, but their lack of ability to serve even lukewarm french fries.

Sorry, I saw that and HAD to say it.

drunk said...

Grand Forks, ND has a more diverse coffee selection than we do here in the Silicon Valley.

Just sayin'.... ;)

OUWxGuesser said...

"And campbells doesnt get alot of customers not because of the location, but their lack of ability to serve even lukewarm french fries.

Sorry, I saw that and HAD to say it."

Amen... our experience at Cambell's sucked donky balls....

Matthew said...

CoffeeGuy: That's like saying the best restaurant in town is one that has horrible food, but it sure looks pretty inside and the swill gets served with a smile.

No, it's saying that some people place more value on atmosphere than on what the coffee tastes like.

I'm sorry this bothers you so much.

Coffee Guy said...

Woah, don't be so weirdly defensive. I was staying out of this thread, but somebody asked me a question, which I answered. Why does THAT bother YOU?

The Marilyn Hagertyification of restaurant value in this town is incredible. "The coat racks were where one would expect, the napkins were of the sturdy sort, etc."

ec99 said...

"Marilyn Hagertyification"

Speaking of which, anyone catch her review of the Village Inn? What was that, the 30th of the place in the last 10 years?

dale said...

And campbells doesnt get alot of customers not because of the location, but their lack of ability to serve even lukewarm french fries.

I guess that I'm lucky, in that I hate french fries and don't eat them. Get their chips, instead -- with the french onion dip and a little tub of buffalo wing sauce, the chips are super awesome.

I can't believe that anyone would read Marilyn's columns, expecting to find out what a good restaurant is. If it has any value beyond pure kitsch, it would be in reminding readers of places they haven't been at in a while, or letting the three people in Grand Forks who lack a computer know what kind of food a new restaurant might specialize in.

Anonymous said...

This is nitpicking...I know. I consider Urban Stampede, Tabula, and Starbucks to be "coffe houses". And, joints like Darcy's, Del's, and Gramma Buterwick's to be "coffee shops".

I'm just referring to you header. I know...nitpicking.

Matthew said...

Coffeeguy: Woah, don't be so weirdly defensive. I was staying out of this thread, but somebody asked me a question, which I answered. Why does THAT bother YOU?

I like to debate, what can I say?

:D

GrandForksGuy said...

Hey guys, I know we like to pick on Marilyn's restaurant reviews, but let's not be so hard on her, ok? She might not be the greatest food critic out there, but she is a very nice lady and almost an institution within the community. Her Christmas column is a Herald classic and her letters to her sister Shirley have a cult following. She could easily be my grandmother...would you want someone to pick on your grandmother the way we pick on Marilyn sometimes? Let's just keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that my grandmothers would have the sense to know that they are not good enough writers to write for a newspaper, especially one that hopes to be the best small town newspaper in America.

Anonymous said...

Exactly,

Do you suppose Marilyn has ever read a real restaurant review, let along written one?

Her quaint June Cleaver overstatement of the obvious is fine for letters to her sister, but a reviewer/critic is supposed to provide a service in our local paper of record.

dale said...

Her quaint June Cleaver overstatement of the obvious is fine for letters to her sister, but a reviewer/critic is supposed to provide a service in our local paper of record.

Exactly -- she's kitschy, but is in no way a serious reviewer. More's the shame, then, that she's represented as one, and the paper then lacks any reasonable review of the local scene. Similarly, bring back Christopher Jacobs' film reviews (assuming he's still around here) -- unlike the currently syndicated "here's what New York thinks" reviews, Jacobs a) included history and perspective and b) was local to Grand Forks.

And I can't remember the last time I saw a music review in there that I was impressed with. Well, maybe the time that the guy from Bismarck reviewed Sunsets on Empire from Fish that I'd told him to go listen to (and I think he solely reviewed it because he couldn't believe anyone would tell him to go listen to something different.)

(Disclaimer: I'm currently in the "off again" phase of my "on again, off again" subscription to the Herald. Maybe they've added some legitimate reviewers since I last read the paper.)

ec99 said...

Marilyn is indicative of what passes for journalism at the Herald.

Anonymous said...

So we include and vote on a gas station that serves coffee (Valley Dairy) but not a bakery that serves coffee?

Huh?

Lance said...

GFG, for all the puffing you do about being the first to break a story over local media outlets, you should let everyone know that THE BEST is a stolen idea, even down to the name.

The UND student newspaper THE DAKOTA STUDENT has been running the THE BEST, which awards local businesses for the past three years. They even gave one for, gasp, best coffee shop. Previous winners have included Tabula and the Urban. You can even see evidence of this award behind the cash box of each establishment.

Coffee Guy said...

The nerve, GFG! Asking what is "the best" or calling something a "coffee shop." You should be ashamed of yourself. Next thing we know you'll have a feature called "local news." Don't you know that's been used before?!?!

Wow. What nitpicking.

GrandForksGuy said...

"GFG, for all the puffing you do about being the first to break a story over local media outlets, you should let everyone know that THE BEST is a stolen idea, even down to the name."

Coffee Guy is right, Lance. When did having a "best of" feature become the privilege of just one media outlet? I know the Dakota Student had a "best of" feature a couple years back, but I wasn't even sure they had been doing it the last year or two. They certainly haven't publicized it very much. As far as the name goes, how am I supposed to remember what the Dakota Student called their "best of" feature? Besides...no one owns the words "THE BEST". Nitpicking, indeed.

Anonymous said...

No one owns "The Best"? Maybe someone does. Have you checked with the N.D. trademark / servicemark website? If not, go ahead and trademark it. I think it only costs 50 bucks.

As far as your assumption that no one owns it...well, that just shows you're as clueless as you appear on this site.

dale said...

Actually, "The Best" isn't trademarkable, as it's a merely descriptive title. I just had a brief battle with the USPTO over that exact issue (not with "The Best", though, obviously :-) I won, though, because the trademark lawyer misunderstood the word.

Anonymous said...

I know there's newspapers in markets that have exclusive rights to their annual "Best Of" series. There in may lie the difference...specifically "The Best of Grand Forks", "The Best of Boston", etc. Rather than simply, "The Best".

GrandForksGuy said...

I'm very happy to change the name of the "best of" feature if that's what people want. I merely thought "THE BEST" sounded catchy and easy to understand. If anyone can come up with a better name, let me know.

Still, like Dale says, I don't think that a descriptive term like "the best" is able to be copyrighted. Certainly no one media outlet can claim that they have the sole right to use a "best of" feature. The Herald has a crossword puzzle (I think?)...should the Herald get upset every time the Dakota Student puts a crossword puzzle in their paper or vice versa? There wouldn't be any basis for that. Likewise, no one media outlet "owns" the right to have a "best of" series. The Dakota Student didn't invent the idea!

Coffee Guy said...

I want you to keep it, just to make that person writhe and seethe.

Pretty please?

dale said...

Trademarks are tricky things. The thing to realize is that, assuming it's not deceptive(*), you can use any name you like, trademarkable or not, assuming that it doesn't infringe on someone else's TM. The only trick is that, if you don't trademark it, or it's something that's untrademarkable, someone else can use it, without regard to you.

Thus, if the Dakota Student has a column called "Best of Grand Forks" and has not trademarked it (I doubt that they could anyway,) you can have a column in the Herald, or on this blog, called the same thing. It's generally not done, though, out of professional courtesy, or, barring that, the fear of promoting the other guys' already existing thing.

Aside from trademarks, no one has "exclusive rights" to anything. There is not licensing agency for buzzwords, and, if there is, they license based on trademarks.

(* - regarding whether "the best" is deceptive, I recall reading that the Supreme Court decided such claims aren't really making the claim. For example, Best Products doesn't have to prove that they're better than all competing products. You can even say junk like "best pancakes in town" or "no one is better at this than us" without worrying about getting called on it. It was pretty complicated, but that's the gist of it. Part of the reason I never went into law :-)

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that the great publishing company New Times owns the exclusive rights to "Best of...." in many of their markets. Competitors have tried to high-jack the handle. New Times' cease and decist action has held up in the courts. The competing publications have been forced to use titles like "Top-0-The-Town" and the likes.

dale said...

I know for a fact that the great publishing company New Times owns the exclusive rights to "Best of...." in many of their markets.

By gum, you're right. Well, half right. "The Best of New York" is owned by Advertising Women of New York and the somewhat similar "New York Best of New York" is owned by New York Magazine Holdings, neither of whom is the Times.

Both of these are actually logos, not simple trademarks, per se, and the first one made note of the fact that they weren't claiming "Best of New York" by itself, but I also found some others (like "Best of Utah" and "Best of Mexico") that were flat out trademarks.

My guess is that this is a trademark on an award (and thus a service mark, I guess,) which makes it more than merely descriptive. Like I said before, it's all pretty confusing.

"Best of Grand (Forks/Cities/etc)" isn't taken, although "Best of Both Forks" is, so toss that one out :-)