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Unique atmosphere a key ingredient for these coffee shops

Coffee ETC, located on Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon.
Anne Hampton
Coffee ETC, located on Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon.

Coffee has long been a staple pick-me-up in many teenage and adult lives, but finding a pleasant local coffee shop to visit can elevate that experience. Reginald’s, Coffee ETC, and Brother Andrés add light to everyday activities like studying for an exam, finishing a good book, or just getting a coffee to go.  

From being named after a beloved dog to being based in a retired schoolhouse, Reginald’s stands out as not just another coffeehouse. Located in The Historic Schoolhouse of Bethel Park, the building is hard to miss, with a bright red trolly stationed on the front lawn. 

Reginald’s was named after Reginald, the owners’ Brittany spaniel who passed away last June. His legacy lives on as the muse of the cafe, with his portrait and silhouette decorating the merchandise and interior. 

Reginald’s offers a wide variety of coffees, lattes, and baked goods as well as stickers, T-shirts, coffee beans, and other merchandise showing the four-legged logo. 

They always serve drip coffees, cold brews, and many typical espresso-based drinks. But their lattes and pastries are alternated often. Their limited-time sage and honey and “sweater weather”– (cardamon cinnamon) — lattes have an especially unique taste to them that cannot be found in large, chain coffee companies. 

Also unique to the company, Reginald’s partners with different small bakeries on alternating days of the week. This not only supports other smaller businesses but also adds variety to their menu and gives customers another reason to come back. 

As the name suggests, Coffee ETC serves more than just a typical coffee. The cafe is located on Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon, and its wide menu and numerous customization options give room for almost everyone to find something that they’d enjoy, whether it be a marshmallow latte or a turkey pesto sandwich. 

The menu features numerous unique flavoring options including tiramisu and marshmallow. They also offer more familiar fruit flavors like strawberry, watermelon, and raspberry. The flavors can be added to practically any of their drinks including iced teas and Italian sodas. 

As far as their food options go, Coffee ETC offers a list of bagels, toasts, and wraps but also a “make-your-own-sandwich” menu with different bases, proteins, and sauces to choose from. 

The freshly made food orders add to the homey atmosphere along with the numerous board games, card options, and a community puzzle to finish. The cafe is incredibly welcoming and although it is on the small side, both indoor and outdoor seating are offered for more space. 

Brother Andrés pairs the concept of inclusion with fresh baked goods and fantastic coffee options – all in a church basement. 

The coffee shop employs adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who often aren’t represented in the workforce. The organization started off by selling coffee and cookies at the Divine Mercy Parish Lenten fish fries, transferred into an online store over the pandemic, and then opened their shop in a space underneath Divine Mercy Parish in downtown Pittsburgh. 

Brother Andrés serves sweet assorted cookies and quality scones, but also more savory options like grilled cheeses, pizza, and breakfast sandwiches. For those hoping to get some work done, the cafe has plenty of seating and acts as a small, peaceful place to focus. 

But these are just three of many local coffee shops that deserve all the business and support they receive – and more. Reginald’s, Coffee ETC, and Brother Andrés all excel in the sense that they create a welcoming atmosphere that can make even boring tasks and bad days just a little bit better. 

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About the Contributor
Anne Hampton
Anne Hampton, Staff Writer
Sophomore Anne Hampton is a second-year Staff Writer. She can be found listening to music and hanging out with friends.
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