This is the first post in what I hope will be at least a weekly series that I’m calling “Seth And the City.” These posts will chronicle my exploration of Salt Lake and focus on urban issues, historic preservation, and city history.
Salt Lake City is full of surprises and frustrations. For example, liquor laws in this state are obnoxious. Another frustration is the winter inversion. This year it is resulting in a public health emergency and seriously detracts from the image of Salt Lake as a pristine mountain retreat. A surprise is that Salt Lake has a rich and diverse religious history, it’s not ALL Mormon. (I’ll explore churches in Salt Lake in my next post.) Also surprising is the amount of coffee shops in Salt Lake and more surprising is the quality of them. The best coffee I’ve ever had in my life has come from coffee shops in Salt Lake City.
When I moved to Salt Lake I began my search for the perfect coffee shop. Phoenix has amazing coffee shops and when I lived there I was a regular at Lola Coffee and Lux. I needed to find a replacement to those lovely hangouts. Michael, my partner, hit the jackpot when he discovered and introduced me to Jack Mormon Coffee located at 2nd Avenue and E Street. The website doesn’t do it justice and needs some major upgrading. (Hey! Jack Mormon! Hire me! I’ll design a website for you!) Website aside, everything else about this coffee shop in the Avenues is incredible, a real gem in downtown. They roast all their beans on site and make coffee with a Clover Coffee Maker which in my opinion is the only way coffee should be brewed.
For a history nerd/historic preservationist like me, I am giddy that Jack Mormon Coffee is located in a two-story brick Victorian Eclectic style building from 1909. Thomas G. Allen owned the building and operated the T.G. Allen Electric company here. He sold electrical supplies and hardware. He died in 1929 and the building became A.G. Electrical, later the building was used as a grocery store, then it became residential, and finally in 1999-2000 it was restored and returned back to commercial use by Cruser Rowland and Sandra Jensen.
As you can tell from this photo, this isn’t a coffee shop you would come to do school work or read a book. In fact, seating is very limited. There is a little table with two chairs and a few seats that look out the window to the street.
I suppose this is intentional given the space limitations of the building and for me it works. Personally, I don’t get much work done when I’m at a coffee shop. My attention span is short and I get distracted easily. I prefer my coffee – oh look! My phone is ringing and I have a million new text messages and emails and I forgot I need to print that form and sign it and send it to that guy and I need to take the clothes out of the dryer and read that chapter and look who just walked in!! What was I talking about? Oh yes. I like coffee and I found the perfect coffee shop in my neighborhood.