Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Sophie Amodeo
Though time has passed since The Strutt closed, many Kalamazoo College students can still recall the cozy, trendy café that once sat at the bottom of the Academy Street hill. The venue served as a hip haven from the coldness of the Upjohn Library.
Recently former owners Darren Bain and Garrett Krugh decided to close the beloved Strutt and open The Black Owl Café.
“It’s not such a sad thing, if this is the product of it,” said Western student and patron Monica Lloyd.
This new spot resides a block east of Bell’s Brewery in what looks like an old industrial building. The unassuming style of the outside of 414 Walbridge Street allows the personality from the inside to shine like a glowing hipster diamond.
The café’s dark wood walls and low lighting make it feel like an antiquated building, yet the “up-cycled” and hip décor created by the owners is just as inviting as the smells coming from behind the counter.
The Black Owl is home to the Kalamazoo Coffee Company, whose beans are roasted in the same building as the café. For the coffee enthusiast, the Black Owl offers a multitude of specialty espresso-based drinks, vegan hot chocolate, three different house roasted coffees that vary per week and five distinct brewing methods between which the customers can choose.
The café also offers over forty different types of loose leaf teas displayed in jars that decorate the walls. For those who wouldn’t know one brewing method from another, the baristas are eager to help and educate the uncertain drinker.
Trays and pedestals stocked with gooey caramel bars, sweet cinnamon rolls and other gorgeous pastries cover the counter in front of the barista. All of the baked goods are provided daily from the Victorian Bakery and cost no more than four dollars.
The café opened just two weeks ago, but it already has a strong following of enthusiastic customers. The inside of the café seats fifteen and a large outside patio holds almost twenty in nice weather. Aside from the menu of drinks and pastries, the Black Owl also has reasonably-priced sandwiches and soups on special every day made from local ingredients.
The Black Owl Café is a reinvention of everything good about the Strutt, especially its delicious treats and warm atmosphere. It is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.