Is Local Restaurant Coffee Awful? Also, Pulitzer Prize Guessing Game

A reader from Paradise Roasters in Ramsey writes:

“We primarily sell coffee retail through our website,, but we are looking at expanding into local restaurants. We don’t expect this to be the easiest thing to do, because even in such a foodie area as the Twin Cities, the restaurant coffee here is still horrible. Because no one complains? No one cares?”

“I’m also hoping that the coffee could help fuel your literary fire. I know, it’s kind of cheesy, but that’s what one of our customers, a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, said about our coffee when it came to his writing. I won’t argue.”

To which I reply: Interesting points! Some local restaurant coffee is indeed horrid. I was in an expensive Italian restaurant just yesterday that had no espresso machine and served coffee that tasted sour and hospital-like. However, there are some restaurants—Pazzaluna, Duplex, Meritage—that have very good coffee. There are also now a number of coffee shops that operate as restaurants during the dinner hour, like Black Dog, Oscar Wilde, and Gigi’s.

I’m actually interested in what readers think: Is local restaurant coffee horrible? If so, why? Moreover, do you care?

I’m more urgently awaiting the answer to this quetion: Who’s the Pulitzer Prize winner fueled by coffee from Ramsey, Minnesota? I’m going to guess it’s not Junot Diaz; there’s plenty of coffee in Boston, where he lives. And I bet that Cormac McCarthy is of a generation not inclined to spending a lot of time on the internet buying coffee. Yeah, I know you probably won’t tell me out of fear of violating your customers’ privacy, but, dear readers, check out the Wikipedia page of Pulitzer winners for fiction and put together your own best guess.

My money’s on James Alan McPherson, but not much money, because I pulled that out of thin air.

As to your primary coffee-selling question, and how one would get into restaurants—I have no idea. What I hear is that everyone right now is in a frenzy of cost-cutting, not upgrading.

However, I’ll leave this to the wisdom of the crowds: Anybody?