Of the many students that call Allendale their home, few take to exploring the city beyond the route that the Rapid carries them. For those who are willing to travel off the beaten path for a place to study with a cup of coffee, Lyon Street Cafe will be quick to reward the adventurous.
The cafe itself is tucked on Grand Rapids’ East Side, far from cafes like The Bitter End Coffeehouse and Ferris Coffee that students usually frequent.
Walking into Lyon Street Cafe itself is an experience equitable to being invited into a friend’s home. The atmosphere itself is welcoming, with soft, dangling lights, natural wood furnishings and bright windows full of natural light. When we visited on a Friday afternoon, the cafe was bustling, with soft alternative music filling the spaces between the tapping of keyboards and gentle conversation.
If you take a moment between sips of coffee to look around, you’ll notice that everyone has their place in the cafe. Some sit in the sun by the front window fiddling with a binder of transactions while others study their laptops below the warm hanging lights. It feels like the cafe itself houses its own little community, made up of Grand Rapids locals and college students from the area alike.
Part of that community comes from the employees, who not only are considerate and knowledgable, but their care for how their food is crafted is notable. Each drink balances a rich blend of flavors, especially the Cafe Miel that was recommended to us. For those who want a beautiful cup of coffee to post on their Instagram feeds, the presentation is on point.
The cafe also has drinks for those there past the morning, with a range of craft beer and wine. It you’re looking for something to celebrate finishing that paper or are looking to try a flight of imported wine with friends, Lyon Street Cafe offers much more than your standard coffee house.
If you’re looking for something to fix an empty stomach, Lyon Street Cafe also offers baked goods from a variety of local bakeries. If something there doesn’t tickle your fancy, it’s hard to walk into the cafe without noting the smells from the bakery next door. While we weren’t able to have any baked goods at Lyon Street ourselves, the macaroons from Nantucket Baking Company one door over provided us with a great snack.
While the food and drink certainly make Lyon Street Cafe a standout coffeehouse, the community it brings with it seals the deal. The cafe seems to offer a little place for everyone, and welcomes each guest with open arms to find theirs.