Firehouse Coffee Co., as the name implies, used to be a firehouse. The building, which was built in Beaux-Arts style in 1901, used to be the home of Engine Company 22 and Truck Company 17 in O’Donnell Square. Now it’s the home of excellent coffee, pastries and sandwiches.
The building is wide, as all the firehouses are that were built in that era, since they had to accommodate both the fire wagons and stables for the draft horses that pulled them. So Firehouse Coffee is large, accommodating and comfortable.
Owners Mike and Evan Dilks took ownership in October, and they have made some changes. They cleaned the place up, bought new tables and chairs, and installed an elevated stage in the back of the room for live entertainment.
They also changed the blend for some of their coffees. “My father and I are coffee drinkers, and we did not think the house coffee and decaf were up to par,” said Evan Dilks. “We reselected our house blends, and we carry really good seasonal flavors as well.”
They also pared down the menu. “The old menu was way too big, and we wanted a more home-made feel for our food,” said Evan. “We are making a lot of our own things.”
Like the shrimp salad, which we tried the other day. It’s Mom’s recipe. The sandwich goes for $7.25 and is served with chips and pickle.
“My father and I are coffee drinkers, and we did not think the house coffee and decaf were up to par,” said Evan Dilks. “We reselected our house blends, and we carry really good seasonal flavors as well.”
Mary Helen tried a caprese panini, slices of tomato and soft fresh mozzarella layered with basil pesto for $6.75.
If you need to jump-start your day, try the cappuccino, a monster shot of espresso blended with hot milk and froth. Delicious and strong, it was well worth the $3.75 for a large.
I tried an iced chai latte $3.75, medium), which was sweet and nutmeggy and cold, something I appreciated on the 100-degree day we visited the Firehouse.
For dessert we passed over the massive scones and muffins in the display case and opted for a granola parfait ($) and a fruit salad ($). Also intriguing are the cute little lattice-top fruit tarts—will need to try one of those soon—and pocket pies.
The pastries are baked in-house, a chore that Evan does himself; he has made a specialty of cupcakes, which are a popular catering item. Next project is a couple of hundred patriotic cupcakes for the Aberdeen Proving Ground. “Cupcakes are a big hit for us,” he sald. “I really like the catering aspect.”
Evan says that Firehouse will expand its menu through the summer. “People can expect to see more sandwiches and more selections in the coming weeks,” he said.
In addition to the pastries, panini and sandwiches, Firehouse Coffee Co. serves two salads.
Firehouse Coffee Co., 1030 S. Linwood Ave. in O’Donnell Square, is open every day, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Our lunch came to $37 including tax and tip.