We all remember the day we found out Milk and Honey was closing its doors. For some, the announcement spread like cancer – whispers from peers, rumors that multiplied and multiplied into agony consummate. For others it was an earthquake—online news that shattered the world and its readers along with it. For others, a car crash – windows suddenly papered with no soy milk latte in sight. M aybe it did take Milk and Honey twenty minutes to prepare a plain bagel, and yes it was often overcrowded, but I remember the flowers left outside the café on the first day of school. Any BSA student will tell you, that place was home.
Despite the severity of our loss, we cannot mourn forever. We still have to get up every morning, searching for coffee. So the question is: Where do we go now? From where I stand, we have three basic options: The Bun Shop, Dooby’s, and Baby’s on Fire.
Let’s start with a familiar place, The Bun Shop. The Bun Shop is a casual, dimly lit, loft-like cafe. It sits on West Read, just past Michaelangelo’s Pizza. It’s homey, a little dingy, but overall quite relaxing. It has a pleasant environment and plenty of comfortable seating options. The Bun Shop is famous for its unusual buns and drink options. Beef Pasties, empanadas, and rotiboys are some staple buns, all of which pair perfectly with a Thai iced tea. Prices range from two to six dollars per item. However, buns and drinks are all The Bun Shop serves, which can make it slightly tiresome as a daily visit. And it is a bit of a trek from the school, especially in the cold.
Another option is Dooby’s. Dooby’s has never really been heavily patronized by the BSA community. It presents a very cosmopolitan vibe which can be off-putting at first. Dooby’s certainly doesn’t seem very inviting as a place to hang out after school, but if you are able to push through, the staff’s warmth will surely make the place more comfortable. The industrial vibe pays off – there’s rarely any stress order mix up. Dooby’s is on the corner of North Charles and West Madison, only one block further away from BSA than the former site of Milk and Honey. Dooby’s offers classic café food as well as many more dinner-type dishes like ramen and rice bowls. Their prices range from two to fifteen dollars, and while Dooby’s is slightly impersonal, it is suitable for studying.
Finally, there’s Baby’s on Fire. Baby’s on Fire is fairly new to the Mt.Vernon café scene. It opened very recently, on Morton street, yet has already gained some traction. It’s a cute little cafe. It’s very small square footage adds to its charm and its clean, with album covers all over the walls. It doubles as a record shop, so perfect for an art student right? Baby’s on Fire’s prices range from three to ten dollars, and most of their paninis fall around nine dollars.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter which coffee shop you choose to spend your time in, there is no one perfect fit. We all feel the pain of Milk and Honey’s sudden departure, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our beloved BSA café culture. For years, Mount Vernon cafés have been flooded by youthful, energetic, artistic students eager for an afternoon snack. Don’t let one move deter you. No matter where you choose to buy coffee and café fare from now on, you continue a long tradition of BSA café patronage that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood all too familiar to high school students everywhere.