Since I left NYC, I’ve regularly lamented the lack of nearby coffee shops (Starbucks inside the supermarket doesn’t count). It’s silly, really, because Gryphon Cafe is a 20-minute walk away (105 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne) — and I’m pretty sure it took me at least 20 minutes to get to any NYC coffee shop that I frequented. But somehow it feels different; walking along the same busy road I walk to get to CVS and Chipotle is less gritty / glamorous than waiting for squealing subways and reading on the train en route to your Saturday morning caffeinated writing fix. Last weekend, I had some leisure time to kill and already had plans to be in downtown Wayne earlier in the day, so I stuffed my MacBook Air in my bag, along with a giant bottle of water, and finally made it to Gryphon Cafe.
Gryphon Cafe’s restroom is upstairs — up a phenomenal set of antique stairs, that is, painted with gold diamonds. It’s next to the “Upper Room,” which is a little quieter than the bustling coffee shop downstairs and can be reserved for private events. Although the bathroom door has a lock, there’s a colorful “please knock” sign taped outside; have they had lots of problems with people not locking the door and being surprised when someone walks in…? Inside, the restroom has shiny white tile bricks on the walls, and a floor made of hexagonal tiles; the upper part of the walls is painted a bright burnt orange, and a framed black-and-white print of a garden hangs opposite the toilet and sink. A large, antique Kaiser Coffee box sits next to the toilet, and a basket stands on top, holding a roll of paper towels.
Gryphon Cafe’s restroom is nothing fancy, but that doesn’t matter: I have found my local coffee shop, and I’m more than thrilled by it. I judge coffee shops by their mochas, and Gryphon Cafe’s is wonderful — it’s rich and chocolatey but not too sweet, and the coffee is strong but not overly bitter. The coffee shop feels very Manhattan, too (good for when I miss my old stomping grounds); it’s a little rough around the edges, and paintings and photographs by local artists hang on the walls. At the far end of the space, there’s a small enclosed garden outside the windows, which on a sunny spring day, made me feel as if I were sitting inside a terrarium. Gryphon Cafe was the perfect place to spend a couple of hours writing, and I can’t wait to go back. That 20-minute walk is more than worth it!