Thursday, October 9, 2008


My name is Martin and I've been a coffee addict, now, for a great many years. There, I've said it. Do I feel better? If I could get a coffee, yes.

When you're in the big cities getting a half decent coffee isn't much of a challenge. You can step out of any hotel and straight into a nearby Starbucks for something. Some hotels even skip the outside part and have a Starbucks right there in the lobby.

Sometimes though, it's just not that easy to find a coffee place. Recently I was in Jackson Hole, WY and searching for coffee. I came across a small tucked away Italian restaurant one night. Outside they had a few tables with those distinctive red umbrellas that usually mean one thing: Illy coffee. Sure enough, they serve Illy. The place is run by a great German dude called Alex who ended up in Jackson via Boston where he studied at Berklee. I ate there one night and had, quite simply, the best lasagne I've ever had. Wholly recommended. The coffee was stellar too although note that it's a cafe for lunch and dinner so doesn't open until 11am. If you're gasping for caffeine any earlier than there's a Tully's in the Albertsons but anything after 11, head for Cafe Ponza at 50 W. Broadway in Jackson.

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Now I find myself in upstate New York. The nearest Starbucks is at least 40 miles away and I need coffee. Last year I took a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of nowhere and pulled off into the small town of Roscoe, NY. In Roscoe is a great little cafe called Buffalo Zach's. It's a cafe with a difference.

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It's run by a guy called Peter Swersey. The following is printed on the back of their menus:

Some two and a half years ago, with the help of three of the most prestigious New York hospitals, the proprietor of this unique café decided to fulfill a dream of his by building the first Survivorship retreat and sanctuary for Cancer patients in this country, just outside of beautiful Roscoe, NY. It was the profound loss of three of his family members to the horrific disease of Cancer that drew him to this mission.
This very strong commitment of his had him spend over 1 ½ years in the planning stages to launch what will become known as “Camp Tomorrow”, A Place of Hope, Renewal and Healing; so Cancer survivors can remain cancer free for the remaining years of their lives.

The inception of Buffalo Zach’s Café in Roscoe will serve as a support and foundation for the funding of “Camp Tomorrow”. The opening for his retreat is scheduled in the near future and hopefully will be the beginning of many more cancer survival retreats in the country. It is in this context that the entire staff at Buffalo Zach’s Café would like to Thank You for having the pleasure of serving you, our valued customer. Thank You for entering these premises and allowing us to accommodate you and hopefully making your visit a delightful experience.

So, the coffee is seriously very good, the food is great - if the buffalo chicken panini I had today is anything to go by - and the staff are just wonderful. And the profits go to a good cause. What you waitin' for?

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