The Buzz in Spartanburg: Coffee Culture

The Buzz in Spartanburg: Coffee Culture

The Buzz in Spartanburg: Coffee Culture

Whether you need a cup in the morning to get yourself moving, or you’re looking for an iced version of a classic to get you through the afternoon, Spartanburg’s coffee options have something for everyone.

If you’re on the Mary Black Rail Trail you might find your curiosity piqued by a pleasant aroma flowing from Little River Roasters’ roasting facility at Fretwell, one of Spartanburg’s newest gathering spaces.

Redeveloped by a group of Spartanburg entrepreneurs, this former industrial area and cotton gin site is capitalizing on growth along the Rail Trail, inspired by popular trailside developments across the Southeast. Fretwell is home to a mixed-use gathering space featuring Little River’s headquarters and roasting facility, and a concessions trailer inside a permanent food truck selling sandwiches, specialty drinks, beer and wine, and snacks. The Fretwell is also home to a stage overlooking the trail and a large grassy area for games, activities and more for the whole family.

Little River has been a local leader of Spartanburg’s coffee culture with downtown options and an Eastside drive-thru caffeinating residents and visitors alike for years.

The driving force behind Little River is the proprietor, Gervais Hollowell. A fountain of enthusiasm and coffee knowledge, he has spent the last 15 years building LRR into a thriving enterprise. In 2001, Gervais purchased Little River from a cookie seller in Flat Rock, N.C. who wanted to focus on the culinary aspect of his business. In between the time he spent at his real job, overseeing the cooking at a girls summer camp, he worked out of his garage roasting coffee. Initially, there was only one farmer in Cameroon who supplied him with beans.

To experience Little River at the source, drop by Fretwell or the Little River Coffee Bar downtown and grab a cup. All you have to do is drop a dollar in the jar and pump your own. While there, shop Little River’s selection of upscale brewing equipment and coffee accessories or pick up a bag of freshly roasted beans.

Little River’s Coffee Bar, located in the Masonic Temple at 188 West Main St. alongside the Hub City Bookshop since 2010, has become a mainstay of a revitalized downtown, and a wonderful place to have a meeting, do some work, or just catch up with native Spartanburgers. If you’re looking to make connections, get there early and you’re sure to see the town’s movers and shakers. You can even sit at a café table on the wide sidewalk.

Inside the historic Montgomery Building sits The Pharmacy, Little River’s second location featuring classics and seasonal drinks that change with the calendar.

Another homegrown coffee enterprise, Bella Latte, offers patrons an authentic Italian espresso experience. Opening the doors to its flagship location in 2006 at 1595 E Main St. in Duncan, Bella Latte is the brainchild of founder Paul Melotte.

Unsatisfied with the standard 10×10 drive-thru espresso shop, he wanted Bella Latte to be able to sit across from a nationwide chain and look like a competitor, despite being completely local.

Bella Latte, along with coffee roaster and supplier Mozza Roasters, were among the first retail spots to open inside the renovated Drayton Mills Marketplace.

Mozza Roasters occupies a 4,000-square foot space at Drayton, with old, wooden beams meeting brick walls to bring a sense of warm to that hot cup of joe. Coffees from Asia, Africa and South America along with other single-origin coffees are roasted in house for everything from cups of black coffee to handcrafted cappuccinos and iced coffees.

Inside another historic space – the Aug W. Smith Building – Spill the Beans’ Spartanburg location brings sweet treats to accompany their coffee, serving up ice cream specialties and a host of topping options. The coffee house and creamery blends up ice cream with coffee and espresso options to create delicious treats that are perfect to combat the heat no matter the time of day.



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