By Becca Brandel
Talk Coffee is located on East Delevan and Meech, just a five minute walk from Canisius, in an unassuming, burgundy, renovated apartment. The storefront is on Meech, but an outdoor-seating section facing Delevan is a quaint street side lounging area for customers. A tin sign hanging outside reads “Talk Coffee,” and is adorned with Christmas tree lights hanging around it. The atmosphere is very casual inside, with three or four wooden tables, one with a chess set on top.
The owner, Karl Myles, is a Canisius College graduate of the class of 1992 and a former lawyer-turned-coffee shop owner. He decided to take on Talk Coffee as a personal passion project and the shop was officially opened approximately ten weeks ago. Myles runs the shop by himself with a family member so opening times can vary, but he hopes to increase staffing and availability as time goes on.
The wooden counter in the front of the store, where customers are served, Myles made himself from different sized and shaped wooden boards. There are a variety of paintings, vintage cameras, fishing poles and a picture of the Last Supper adorning the walls, all of which Myles purchased from different garage sales. Myles affectionately described the shop as “tacky,” but loves the decor as it is a personal representation of himself. He is proud of the unique and quirky atmosphere he has created. The shop’s logo is displayed throughout on tables and furniture, featuring a setting sun with two large birds flying into it, with the word “talk” on top, and “coffee” on the bottom.
Customers have the option to sit in front a bay window for a sunny view of the neighborhood or a more secluded area with comfy chairs and unique tables, even a table with a giant golden griffin on it.
“When I used to visit coffee shops a lot to study in college, I would sit in these coffee shops and look around and find things that I didn’t like, or that I would want to do differently, and it inspired me to to make a store of my own,” said Myles.
He wants Talk Coffee to mold around his customers’ wants and needs, as his biggest clientele is college students. “I want to have the place open 24 hours, for students that want to study, and study, and study, so they have a place they can go,” Myles said.
Myles admits, however, that so far business has been tough. He depends heavily on Canisius students as his main clientele, and urges them to take a walk and stop by. As stated the shop is only a short walk from Canisius and offers a great, homely alternative to the monopolizing Tim Horton’s.
Drinks in Talk Coffee are reasonably priced: iced coffee only costs $2.00, and a small coffee is $1.25 with a large being only a few cents more. The coffee itself is comparable to Tim Horton’s, with a bold taste and a rich flavor, making it perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or a necessary late-night boost while studying. Myles also serves homemade breakfast and dinner burritos, which he describes as “two meals at once,” for only $4.50. Furthermore, for $2.00 one can find “monster-size” homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Myles recognizes that he is a small business just starting out and is looking to be very accommodating to his new customers. He is looking to start a Coffee Club, where members pay $25 up front at any point in a semester and from then on, receive any type of coffee for just one dollar per cup for the rest of the semester.
“If you do the best you can and all you get are sevens or eightss, and then you do something else and it’s a nine or a ten, go for that something else, because people don’t stand in lines for a seven or eight,” said Myles. “For me, practicing law was not a ten,” he continued. He plans to keep pursuing his new calling at Talk Coffee, and has plans for further employees, decor, and menu items in the near future. He hopes that Canisius students and other locals will start to frequent his shop and see it as a local gem, quirky and homegrown like so much else in the city of Buffalo.
Talk Coffee is open on Tuesdays through Sunday from 10am to 10pm, though due to a lack of employees these hours may vary. This does have the benefit that you are almost guaranteed to meet Myers himself, so feel free to say hello, and tell him the Griffin sent you. For more information, check out Talk Coffee on their Facebook page, or stop in at 208 East Delevan Avenue.