By: Nick Perkins
Let’s get this out of the way first, shall we? This is not a typical VS article. We’re not pitting the two coffee shops against each other. We don’t want to start a war. Think less Freddy VS Jason, more Batman V Superman…except we’re pretty sure neither owner has a mother named Martha.
What both Crescent Moon Coffee Shop and Metro Coffee Company do have, however, is a claim to being the best coffee shop in The District. So which one is the best? Who is the real winner? Let’s find out.
It’s Crescent VS Metro…Place your bets.
When Metro Coffee Co. first opened, they strived to be different than a certain Seattle-based coffee shop. They didn’t want to follow rules dictated by a man in a suit that knew nothing about coffee. They wanted to bring something to Downtown Casper that it previously lacked- a place where people of all ages could sit together, drink coffee together and just be together.
Since taking ownership of Metro in September of 2017, Lexie Anderson and her three partners wanted to preserve that same sense of belonging that was first created within the brick confines of that illustrious coffee shop.
When first walking into Metro, one is immediately greeted with a slew of “Hellos” and “How are you’s” from the ever-affable staff. After pleasantries were exchanged, my order was taken post-haste. I was standing there for only a few moments before my drink was up. I’m boring, and need all the caffeine, so I ordered a Boiler Maker with 4 shots of espresso. After the espresso was made, the kindly barista offered me my choice of brewed coffee to pour myself. She told me which pot was the freshest, which I appreciated. I grabbed my coffee and scanned the room and, to my surprise, there was barely a place to sit! It was a Monday afternoon but the place was packed. There were teenagers, college students, adults and more, which was exactly what Anderson and her partners envisioned when they purchased Metro last September.
“There’s nothing that I love more than coming through that front door and walking back to the office every day,” Anderson said. “I love walking to the back and seeing everyone in here working on their computers; I like that we have kids here and that we’re able to offer them a place that is fun and safe.”
Metro is most assuredly a fun, safe space for kids and for older patrons. More often than not, Metro has a slew of events going on. It hosts art displays, concerts, open mic nights and more. Rarely is there a Friday night that doesn’t have some sort of event going on.
But Metro is not just about being a cool venue. It wouldn’t be the success that it is today if the coffee wasn’t top-notch. Luckily, as I took the first sip of my Boiler Maker, my mind (and taste buds) were put at ease. As somebody who scoffs at the idea of adding cream and sugar to my liquid energy booster, my mouth was inundated with nothing but pure coffee. The espresso was rich and creamy, and the actual coffee was so good, it actually took my mind off the fact that I was drinking what amounted to hot bean water. I didn’t order any food, but Metro does offer bagels, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and regular sandwiches that are absolutely delicious as well. Metro offers coffee, tea, hot drinks, cold drinks, food and more which definitely puts this coffee shop a notch above the others.
The thing that should really put Metro at the top of anyone’s list, however, is the fact that its owners really care about being a place that brings people of all ages together.
Anderson stated that they “love all the different people that come in here. We really enjoy serving people and supporting the community.”
That is exactly what Metro does, which is why it wasn’t surprising that the only thing Anderson had to say about Metro’s, ahem, “rival” owner was a compliment.
“As a woman, as a person that has children, it’s so impressive to me that a young lady like that has such drive, it really is,” Anderson said. “I know how much [work] it is taking on a coffee shop, and I commend her for what she’s doing.”
The young lady in question is Makenzie Rothfuss and she is the owner and manager of Crescent Moon Coffee Shop. She is also twenty. As in, years old.
“I’ve always wanted to open up a business,” Rothfuss confessed. “It’s just taken me a while to figure out what kind of business I wanted to open.”
It took her a while? She’s twenty. How long is “a while” in her world?? This writer is thirty years old and I’m still convinced that one day I will be an astronaut or a professional wrestler.
Ironically, Rothfuss was a barista at Metro earlier in her life which gave her the tools, passion and inspiration she needed to decide what kind of business she wanted to open. She wanted to open a coffee shop, and that’s exactly what she did.
After taking out a loan and refurbishing the space that Crescent Moon now occupies, Rothfuss was in business. There have been hiccups along the way, as there are with any new business, but Rothfuss is confident that Crescent Moon will shine brightly in The District. The thing that really stands out about Crescent Moon is how serious it takes its product.
“It’s extremely important to have a well-rounded place,” Rothfuss said. “Music is great, but coffee is important too. We’re very open and we’re willing to work with what you know about coffee and we’ll hopefully get you further into the world of coffee. We’ll find out what your favorite drink is and then we’ll get you a little more diversified.”
Crescent Moon is full of diverse drinks, whether they’re of the hot or cold variety. Like Metro, they also serve up a variety of sandwiches and pastries that are guaranteed to make mouths water. I was on a mission, however, and it was spelled c-o-f-f-e-e. I ordered a Red Eye (very similar to the Boiler Maker from Metro) and she got to work. As she was making my drink, I took a look around. The space was beautiful. Even more impressive was the fact that Rothfuss and her family renovated it themselves. There was art on the wall and groovy tunes playing in the background and the whole setup made for an aesthetically pleasing scene. There were fewer customers than Metro, which was not surprising. It was, in fact, still a Monday afternoon. Plus, Crescent Moon seems to serve a different type of demographic than Metro does- a fact that Rothfuss not only acknowledges, but actually seems to boast.
“I think we have a quiet atmosphere,” Rothfuss stated. “We have a lot more business people than, like, the younger demographic. This place is more meeting-oriented.”
Crescent Moon definitely has a different vibe, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t open to promoting events as well. As of next month, Crescent Moon will be hosting open mic nights and ukulele nights, which are sure to bring in crowds of all ages.
But still, coffee. That is the most important thing to Rothfuss and it is what differentiates her shop from so many others.
“I like perfecting coffee,” Rothfuss admitted. “I’ve been working on perfecting latte art, which has been difficult but nice.”
The thing that separates both Metro and Crescent Moon from other coffee shops is that they care about providing an “experience” to their patrons. They don’t want somebody to just drive up, pick up a coffee and leave. They want people to order an original drink, pull up a seat and stay a while. It’s why Metro puts on so many events and it’s why Crescent Moon focuses on the art of coffee making. Both shops want to give their customers something to remember. Rothfuss remembers her time at Metro fondly and had nothing but kind things to say about her former home.
“I think they are doing well with the live music and doing things to keep customers coming in at night,” she stated. “I’ve heard great things about them, like the fact that they’ve gotten new furniture and are constantly doing upkeep. I know how hard it is to maintain upkeep, so I definitely give them kudos for that.”
Kudos should go to both shops. Both offer incredible products, beautiful atmospheres and they both offer something unique to The District. So who is the “winner?” Well, the answer should be obvious.
We all are.