Open for barely two months, I finally got a chance to stop by the newest coffee shop in town. Ok, frankly, I didn't even know about the newest coffee shop in town until an hour or so ago. Updike's Newtowne takes the place of the now defunct Majik Coffee. Apparently, when the now owner (Updike?) bought the remnants, there wasn't much left. Now instead of focusing on the wholesale end of the coffee business, he's concentrating on building a following as a cafe. Good move. There's less competition on the local level with service than on the regional level with wholesale.
The inside has been completely re-done. It's very cozy and inviting. It's also one of the most open and spacious cafes I've seen and hints to the possibility of what the owner can do with the spot. Lots of wood tones and the large coffee roaster in the corner make it one of the nicest cafes to sojourn. There's not too much filling the room right now, and that adds an austere character in contrast to the busy (although still enjoyable) Caffe Bon Ami.
The cafe owner (again, Updike?) is very well versed in coffee and does all his own roasting on site. Thus, the focus of the cafe is coffee. Coffee, coffee, more coffee. Fantastic. It probably won't last long, since huge profits are to be made in the baked goods and sandwiches business, but for now, the coffee dominance lends both focus and aroma to the entire room. All in all, the interior, the design, the on-site roasting, and the enormous variety of roasts, beans, and drinks makes Updike's Newtowne a must visit for anyone in the area. It's even good enough where out-of-town people may want to make a trip for a pound of freshly roasted beans.
I recommend the Indonesian espresso roast. Excellent roast.
UPDATE 3/4/09: After a long period away, I finally found time to head back to UpTowne. Coffee is still the focus of the cafe, which after well over a year is a pleasant surprise. Only a few baked goods join the wide variety of house blends, single-origin, and estate coffees.
Mark Additon, the owner, has expanded his selection and knowledge of coffee considerably. As far as high-end coffee goes, I can't think of a single competing cafe or roaster that has the same selection. CofEx has good single-origin, but they generally use blends of beans from groups of farmers. The good selection of high-end coffee maintains UpTowne as one of Rhode Island's best cafes and garners an even stronger recommendation from me.
Updike's Newtowne: +++
Price range for two: $5-$10
View Larger Map
7726 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI. 02852
Monday through Friday 6:30am to 5:00pm
Saturday 7:30am to 3:00pm