Coffee test num. 16. Avalon International Breads
Location: Willis and Cass
Near: Alley Taco, Source Booksellers, HUGO, what used to be the Spiral Collective, Mario’s
Parking: On the street in front of the space is free, but crammed parking. Metered parking is available in every direction.
I ordered: Cortado
Coffee: This was a good experience. I’m not typically a fan of Avalon’s coffee. I usually come for bread, heat, and the friendly service, and settle for decent coffee. The cortado exceeded my expectations. For future visitors, perhaps stay away from my go-to cap here, and instead try the other offerings.
Service: I order at the counter. Usually, I stand and wait for my beverage and goodies, but today the barista found me at a table and delivered my drink!
Wifi: Good. Although my computer was lagging behind significantly.
Atmosphere: This space is one of the few spots left on this block. Goodwells and The Spiral Collective, and a few other places have met their business funerals in the past couple of years. Meanwhile, Avalon opened a new spot downtown. Still, this Cass Corridor staple remains busy and beloved. This cozy space is coated in tones of bronze, maple red, and industrial gray and wood. There are charming breaks in uniformity, as a few mix-matched tables and chairs interrupt the flow of the space to give a more relaxed feel. The chalkboard menu this early March was accented in red, and hearts hung from the ceiling, holding onto the love fest of February. The floor is a story book itself, with evidence of the many changes that have been made over the years. Look down into the concrete, tile, and epoxy remnants. There are plugs on the south wall, enough for 4 devices, so come pre-charged. Nearly every seat has a nice window view of the rehabbed homes that line Willis. There is a 6-foot bench that lines the side of the counter where the coffee magic happens. Arrive early in the morning for the added bonus of fresh-bread smells that will make you give up on your low-carb efforts. Also, there wall of community posters are a library of events and happenings in the area. Need a gallery, music, or discussion fix? Let your eyes find your next calendar pin on the west wall. BONUS: Gender-neutral bathroom. There is just one stall, but it’s always clean, spacious, and free of gender boundaries.
People: There is a nice mix of everyone in this space. On one morning when grabbing coffee with the boo, a group of runners were congregating before their morning routine. This Friday early eve, the place was less crowded than usual. Usually the line is stretching the length of the space. Today, the two-to-three tops were filled with laptops and and folders of things to check off a list before the weekend. A few people were there for a quiet convo with a friend, while others sipped alone enjoying a few moments of warmth and stillness before moving on to their next destination. I’ve always had friendly experiences here. The diversity is more so in the line for bread. People of all different races and cultures stop in for these gluten-heavy baked goods. Stand in line with suburbanites looking to offer a Detroit flair to their dinner party, young activist with hungry tummies, poets with a longing for bread and soup, kids appeasing their sweet tooth with monkey bread, business folk in search of a quick salad and sandwich, and family folk ensuring they can make hearty lunches out of Avalon’s many loaf offerings.
Return likely: I’ve returned to this staple again and again. I’m addicted to the sticky buns, can always find something quick to eat, and am never rubbed wrong by the service.