MiddleGround Replacement to Shift Focus from Food to Coffee
Earlier today, we brought you the news that MiddleGround Cafe, with its hummus plates and generous late hours, will be shutting down to be replaced by Wiggin Street Coffee. This new establishment will focus more on coffee and serve a much more limited menu than its predecessor, according to Dave Forman, who owns the business along with his father, Mark.
“You either need to be focused on coffee or you need to be focused on food,” he said.
Instead of serving the hot breakfast that was a MiddleGround Sunday staple, Wiggin Street Coffee will feature a menu of bagels and pastries. They will also serve a selection of sandwiches. The food menu at the River Road Coffee House in Granville, Ohio which is owned by the Formans, offers such items as stuffed croissants and tuna salad sandwiches.
Though the menu will shrink, Joel and Margaret Gunderson (who we’ve reached out to), who own MiddleGround and the Village Inn, will be reopening the VI for lunch and offer both an eat-in and a take-out menu, according to Forman. MiddleGround’s closing message indicated that many popular MiddleGround items will make an appearance at the VI.
Wiggin Street Coffee will offer coffee from the Formans’ other business, One Line Coffee, which focuses on sourcing sustainable and ethical beans from small farms. Just a few weeks ago, Dave Forman was in El Salvador, meeting with one of his new suppliers. He said that this rigorous vetting process allows One Line to make sure they are buying from farms that use sustainable practices and follow ethical wage policies.
“The idea is to give a lot more credit to the people who are growing our coffee than to us,” he said.
Below the jump: how the deal came to fruition and will Wiggin Street Coffee serve milkshakes?
The new store will not serve milkshakes, opting instead to introduce a new selection of frozen coffee drinks that can also be served without coffee. They will also have fruit smoothies.
Hours for Wiggin Street Coffee have yet to be determined, but Dave Forman told us that they plan to keep MiddleGround’s layout because they were particularly attracted to the coffee shop’s status as a campus gathering place.
The Formans are currently reaching out to students who worked for MiddleGround last year, Dave said, to see if they would be interested in working at Wiggin Street Coffee.
“It’s important that we don’t make anyone feel like we’re coming in and kicking them out,” he said.
Dave Forman said that the Gundersons approached him and his father about a year ago, saying that they wanted to sell MiddleGround and focus their efforts on the Village Inn. At the time, the Formans said they were unable to take on another business. A few months ago, Dave said, they were approached again and decided that they could devote the necessary time to opening a new store. Because the VI will be expanding its food offers, Dave said, he and his father felt they could safely open a more coffee-focused business in Gambier.
“This time, Mark and I decided that we were in a situation where we could do something that’s really cool and that the students and the residents of Gambier will really enjoy,” he said.
He hopes the coffee bar will appeal to Kenyon students with an interest in sustainable food and beverage options, which he said has always been the driving force of the Formans’ business.
“Our goal is always to be proud of our actions,” he said. “Almost every business decision we’ve made over the last nine years has been less about money and more about being proud of what we do.”