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Frappachino Frustration (Why I Had To Conduct An Interview In A Fast Food Place)

Highland Avenue needs a coffee shop. Or maybe I just need a car. Here's why.

I was trying to schedule an interview for a freelance writing piece the other day. The interviewee knew Salem, and said she'd meet me here, preferably on Highland Avenue, because that was on her trip home.

"Okay, that works for me too," I agreed, seeing that I live closer to there than downtown and didn't have access to my husband's car that day. "But...there is really no place to meet."

"How about the Burger King?" she offered.

I shrugged, unable to think of another option. "I guess that works."

And at that very moment I wished that a certain despised corporation that dots American cities and suburbs more than chicken pox spots on an infected five year old existed close by.

A Starbucks.

What a dagger in my heart. I want to hate Starbucks. I can't stand the taste of their hot coffee - it's much too tar tasting for me. I know that their existence has put many independent coffee shops (which I learned to love as a teenager going to the only high school in 1990s Rochester, NY with five within walking distance) out of business. I know the Frappachinos are full of sugar, their sizes aren't real Italian words, their caramel apple cider is just heated apple juice and that they expanded so quickly that their locations now have the shelf life of a two day old super reduced priced loaf of bread.

But gosh darn it, I live near the Salem/Lynn line, don't have a car yet and moonlight as a freelance writer. There is that open space in the Hawthorne Shopping Center where it looks like a Blockbuster used to be, and that would be the most wonderful place in the world for some kind of coffee shop that isn't Dunkin' Donuts. (Don't get me wrong, I love Dunkin' Donuts. It's just not as conducive to conduct an interview in. Plus, I would have to cross a four lane highway to get to the sit down one on Highland Avenue.)

And we're all friends here, so I can admit this - sometimes you just want a complicated coffee drink that has more calories than lunch and dinner combined. It's okay.

If I was the coffee shop owning type (and trust me, right now I wish I were), I would jump on that spot and open a coffee shop. And though it would most likely be a futile endeavor (because maybe myself and Wednesday's interviewee are the only people who see the need), I trust you I would make excellent iced coffees.

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Megan Tainer May 23, 2011 at 03:22 PM
What about IHOP? Not exactly a "coffee shop" but certainly a better choice than Dunk's.
chester suchecki May 26, 2011 at 11:17 AM
there is also puleos dairy which serves breakfast and lunch. no fany cffee here but an honest one localy owned
chester suchecki May 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM
p.s. there are pedestian lights that work when you press the button on higland ave.
Beth Melillo May 26, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Second the comment about Puleo's although it has more of a diner-esque feel. Also, Highland Ave is right on the bus line, and there's a Donut City in Lynn a few blocks at the intersection of Highland and 129A/Chestnut St. (http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/map/1521606/restaurant/Boston/Donut-City-Lynn) Another area missing a coffee shop is Salem is over near the College. I can't believe there's 9,000 students that attend and no place to sit over a cup of coffee with friends anywhere within a half mile!
KlassySalem May 26, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Bagel World? Also check out Cafe Jefferson, just up Jefferson Ave next to the railroad bridge. Nice little quiet place.

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