Judging Coffee Houses – Cafe Collage

When Mid City Caffe closed I assumed folks would head to the Peregrine nearby. I totally forgot about Cafe Collage which went under new management way back in March 2009. Cafe Collage is located right next to Cafe St. Ex at 1346 T St, NW. Their Web site says:

“Our quiet location is the perfect place to catch up on some coffee-infused study or work time, fuel your brain with our Da Vinci Tea St. Special Grilled Veggi, or treat yourself to our renowned Picasso roast beef and cheese sandwich. You can also take advantage of our basement quarters and have an intimate conversation with several family members and friends without being packed against a series of wi-fi users. (Although we do have room for you, too…)”

Looks like they also quote a previous PoP commenter who is a fan. I don’t know why I always forget about this place. You can see their full menu here. And I now see:

“We now feature beer & wine! A glass of house wine, domestic, or imported beer costs only $3.”

Any fans?

26 Comment

  • It’s pleasant and eclectic. But they could improve the decor/appearance dramatically. I like the smoothies from here.

    And businesses… take down the bars on the windows. Assuming they empty the cash register each night, there is little of value inside a coffee shop like this. Bars make it look really ugly/uninviting. I have the same problem with the Cajun Experience on 18th. The bars make it look horrible and dungeon-y. No other restaurants along that strip (Mandu, Lauriol, Larry’s, Zabb, and Rosemary’s) have bars on the windows.

  • The coffee there is mediocre. The chai tea is made from a powder, which didn’t dissolve very well for me.

    The smoothies and sandwiches are decent. It’s always quiet in there, I enjoyed studying in there.

    I agree with the poster above, the decor could be improved.

  • I love this little place, but it could be because I live right near it. Also agree on the smoothies – they are my hangover cure. Breakfast sandwiches are good as well. It’s a nice little neighborhood coffee shop.

  • By far the nicest coffee shop owners I have ever met. I work nearby and they remember me after only 2 visits. Food is great and veggie friendly if you are into that. If you show up 10 (or 10:30)am or later they have Sambusas out. These are incredible spicy lentils wrapped in fried filo dough. The coffee is ok, but they make up for it with everything else.

  • Super nice folks! Someone on here should give them some free decorating advice 🙂

  • great place to spend a few hours studying/working. The people there are top notch. I’m not very particular about my coffee, so I can’t comment on it. But seriously, the nicest people.

  • This is the friendliest coffee shop around. In addition to the delicious sambusas, they have an $8 veggie Ethiopian platter that has some of the best shiro and mesir wot I’ve ever had.

  • Nice people, decent food (haven’t tried their coffee). Agree with others, though, the window bars could get removed, and the outside tables and chairs are kind of wobbly.

  • it sucks ass… sorry but besides of Big Bear and Tryst the competition of coffee shops needs to improve dramatically… which means not to add stuff to menus, but improve the exiting items on menu and prob remove a few (chai lattes included)

  • Hey PoP, do you give businesses a heads-up once you’ve posted about them? Or do we just see comments from owners sometimes who happen to track this blog/WWW mentions etc?

    While sometimes there are snarky comments to read through, often PoP folks have good advice/feedback that might help out a local business owner. I’m glad this place is still around, and it’s hard to imagine someone couldn’t find a couple hundred bucks to pick up some throw pillows from Ikea, offer wallspace to local artists etc etc – to warm it up a bit. But as it is a super-small business I don’t know if they would have any kind of web-monitoring going on.

    Don’t mean to lobby one way or another as to your job as blogger, just curious. Might stop by Collage over the weekend and ask myself.

  • PS Sorry that was so long-winded.

  • andy

    These guys are nice and the location is good. I know business around there never seems to be quite enough.

  • $3 beers on 14th street? good to know. of course I’m guessing they close at like 8pm.

  • We have patronized this place increasingly on weekend afternoons ever since Mid City closed and the limited seating at Peregrine has regularly becomes non-existent. The best feature of Cafe Collage: it’s easy to find a seat there. The coffee is good and inexpensive (although by no means in a class with Peregrine), the atmosphere is pleasant, and the owners are friendly. Cafe Collage is not going to make my list of the five best coffee purveyors in the city, but it can be a nice uncrowded place to hang out.

    • jburka

      As the other half of that “We,” I’ll add that the coffee is better than you’d get at Starbucks or U Street Cafe, but it’s not like they’re brewing Counter Culture or Stumptown!

      It’s quiet, pleasant, and homey. And there’s free wifi for the squatters…

  • I always forget it’s there, but will definitely try it – I need a new place that is closer than Soho or Jolt n Bolt. Hopefully I will not be part of an influx that turns it from uncrowded to too-crowded. (Good for the owners, not so good for the previous regulars.)

  • Haven’t tried their coffees so I can’t comment on those. The Cleanser smoothie is great if you’re into healthy/green drinks and the croissant with egg and cheese ain’t too bad either.

    I definitely agree with everyone about how nice the owners are. Once, their card machine was down and I didn’t have any cash at hand. She let me take my food and come back a couple of hours later to pay her. (Try that anywhere else)

  • I love their house special smoothie. It’s made with soy and barley.

    Coffee snobs might be disappointed, but the friendliness of the staff is something I always look forward to.

    It is a great place for a fresh sandwich and relax a bit with free wifi.

  • Pound on the Hill has great decor although I have yet to try their coffee. Best coffee in the city: big bear, peregrine, qualia, & sticky fingers.

  • I live nearby and love the coffee, smoothies (I like the ‘staminia’) and wraps (get the klee)… the owners are extremely nice.
    I think the original anonymous was referring to jolt n bolt on that strip near lauriol… which also has great fruit smoothies.

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