Are you a lover of coffee and trains? If so, you gotta check out the Empire Coffee shop, on board a very-cool 1947 Great Northern train car, parked just outside the Chico Art Center at 434 Orange Street.
After browsing through the Art Center (always a visual treat) on a recent Sunday afternoon, Gabe, Eva and I ordered tea (36 different kinds are available!), latte and Chico Chai, respectively. Along with our tasty libations, we were impressed with the friendly service and exceedingly mellow (in spite of all that caffeine) atmosphere.
Along with interesting art, the colorful interior boasts an array of donated books for one’s reading pleasure, including titles from Plato, Kerouac, Hemingway, Miller, Ginsberg and more. And there are several shelves full of games too. I can picture hanging out some rainy day playing Scrabble and consuming mass quantities of coffee, maybe pretending we’re making our way across a vast, green countryside on our way to some exotic destination.
Which reminds me of the time my sister Becky and I (both in our teens) were traveling by train through the French countryside. I was gazing out the window and caught a sweet scene that has been forever imprinted in my memory. A young, dark-haired (French I assumed) couple was picnicking in a huge, green meadow, complete with their red-and-white checkered tablecloth and woven basket (which HAD to contain a loaf of French bread and a bottle of wine, n’est pas?), both reclining, he with head resting on bent arm, looking down at her. He glanced up as the train passed. It was one of the most romantic scenes imaginable, caught in that brief moment of time in my youth.
Ah but I digress. Check out the Empire Coffee shop next time you have a few minutes and are near 4th & Orange St., open EVERY DAY from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.!