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Java's no joke in Batavia

Expanding selection of coffee shops makes finding a cup easy

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:22 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA - Traverse the downtown sector of Batavia, and there are a lot of things you will find. Restaurants, dance studios, shops. But what you'll find more of than anything else, is coffee.

Downtown Batavia is home to a widening array of choices for a good cup of joe, from casual bakery-like stops that boast no-frills service and glazey sweet rolls, to eclectic locales offering high-end coffee in a burgeoning arts community.

The rundown, from east end to west, includes such stops as Dimples Donuts, 328 E. Wilson St.; The Rhino Room, the newly opened O' Sole Mio at 27 N. River St.; Limestone Coffee, which just reopened at 8 Wilson St., Panera Bread at 154 W. Wilson St.; McDonald's at 125 W. Wilson St. and 10 S. Coffee, in the Batavia Public Library. Add in the choices of city breakfast favorites like Daddio's Diner at 134 W. Wilson, and there's enough java to satsfy any coffee lovers palate. There's even a coffee manufacturer, PapaNicholas Coffee, on Raddant Road.

So what makes Batavia a great place to sip a cup?

Rhino Room owner Tina Miles says its all about location.

"Batavia has always been a walkable city, and its going to be again," she said. Her location sits at the corner of Wilson and River Streets, where a long and expensive road redevelopment project has been taking place, designed to convert South River into a destination for restaurants, farmer's markets and other city events. Miles said the project has spurred creativity among the existing businesses, for outdoor tables and events during warm weather months.

But back to the coffee--Miles said her artfully decorated space pulls in business professionals as well as shoppers, and in warm weather, cyclists from the bike path are known to stop in as well

"the greatest thing about this place is the customers, really," she said. "People like to stop and enjoy their coffee, or they see someone through the window who they know, and they end up coming in for a cup and to visit. It happens quite a lot."

The spot was the former home to Limestone Coffee and Tea, which recently reopened in a new location at 8 W. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia, in the former home of Lane Allen Architects.

The cafe has been doing brisk business since reopening, said Maureen Mares, who runs Limestone Coffee with her daughter, Kendall Ertz.

"It's been real nice," Mares said. The space is 525 square feet larger than Limestone's old space, Ertz said. She said the cafe has been seeing "a lot of old customers and a handful of new customers."

Limestone has expanded its breakfast and lunch menu, including healthier options, such as a homemade vegetarian soup and a chicken salad wrap.

"Our chicken salad wrap is a very popular sandwich," Ertz said.

Kari Kraus, co-founder of Water Street Studios in Batavia, was a regular customer at Limestone's former location, and was making herself at home in the new location.

"It still has the Limestone vibe it had in the old space," Kraus said. "Every time you come here, you run into someone you know. It has a nice hometown vibe."

Expansion like that is key to the success of som many coffee locations. Dimples Donuts has opened a second shop in Naperville. Ole Sole Mio complements its brew with gelato. While Limestone offers lunch, Rhino Room offers evenings of music, tapas and wine, during the spring and summer months. Miles said she's readying a staff to begin the tapas nights this year.

"I can't wait for the weather to warm, and to get some tables outside," Miles said.

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