Farmington, Connecticut; the land of colonial homes and rolling hills, horse farms, schools once attended by former First Ladies and now, home of Dom's Coffee, rated by Architectural Digest as The Most Beautiful Cafe in Connecticut.
Remember when the word coffeehouse conjured visions of overstuffed, cast-off furniture populated by long-lounging “alternative” coffee-sippers? All that was missing was your local version of Phoebe Buffay crooning about her Smelly Cat. Gone are those days. A new, craft-caffeinated, curated, uplifting day has dawned in the land of this coffeehouse and many others.
Dom’s sits on a main thoroughfare, housed in, well, a colonial-style white-painted house. With ample parking and a ramp at the main entrance, they are outwardly welcoming any and all to come and imbibe with them. Inside, let there be light! This space has cornered the market on light and bright. A bit of the rustic combined with a Nordic design sense work to make this space sleek and modern yet still happily cozy and earthy.
Amble in and a gleaming crisp and clean interior greets you. There is a long, wooden communal table to plunk down at with your Maple Latte and computer. “Come, stay a while”, the fresh flowers in that sleek pottery vase almost whisper. There are rooms and nooks; it was a house after all. Tables for two or four, unfussy couches with coffee bean sack pillows are a nod to the reason you came on by in the first place…coffee. J. Rene Coffee Roasters in West Hartford is their roaster of choice, due to the fact that they buy and roast top quality coffee. As far as coffee drinks, the offer a full roster of the usual suspects: espressos, affogatos, lots of lattes (Honey, Maple, Chai, Dirty Chai, Matcha), French press, iced brews and hot chocolates. There is no shortage of lovingly and artistically made caffeinated beverages here.
To accompany, they have fresh pastries which are crafted by local companies, the Better Half Bistro and the Hartford Baking Company, which pride themselves on scratch-made treats that are rich in quality ingredients and care. The day I visited, Apple Strudel, Raspberry Turnovers, and a variety of croissants were housed beautifully under gleaming domes. One item that struck my fancy was their Lithuanian Tree Cake, otherwise known as Raguolis (meaning “Spiked”) or Sakotis (meaning “branched”). How to describe this unusual confection? Well, picture a stalagmite (remember, those are the ones that grow up from cave floors) made out of a somewhat dense waffle and you can start to get the picture. Eggy, not too sweet and perfect with a cup of joe. Not to mention, pretty darned interesting looking sitting on your plate.
Just when you thought that coffees and pastries would do you just fine, peek around the corner from the main counter and what do you find? A cheese counter. It’s Dom’s Cheeses, along with shelves of specialty foods-hot sauces, mustards, jams, jerky, cookies, marinated vegetables. Daily samples of cheese are offered and their cheesemonger was quick with a hello (or “Ciao!”-he was from Italy) and more samples if I so desired (I desired). I was particularly interested in the Lithuanian cheeses, which they stock regularly and the cheesemonger happily provided information and thoughts about them. Suffice it to say, I came home that day with a Lithuanian cow’s cheese and a beautiful Austrian cheese called Alp Blossom, its edges aptly covered with dried Alpine herbs and florals.
In closing, if you are in the area or you are out exploring our beautiful Nutmeg State on a Spring day, swing by Dom’s. Stay for a while and soak up a perfectly pleasing atmosphere and all that goes with it. And there is so much good stuff that goes with it.
20 W. Main Street, Avon
[Photography courtesy of Dom's Coffee]