Local Adventures: Donuts and Coffee in CLE

IMG_1119My husband and I had a rough start to 2015–both taken out by the plague everyone seems to be passing around.

Thankfully we had time off for the holidays to recover, but we were bummed about canceling dinner plans with friends and the German-style New Year’s Day party we were planning to host for our families.

Despite our lingering colds we made an effort to get out of the house for more than just work recently by trying out a couple of Cleveland eateries that have been on our list.

I keep a spreadsheet of restaurants, bars, events, festivals, etc. people have recommended, both in Ohio and beyond, that we reference when we’re planning a trip or just need a fresh idea for something to do on a weekend.

Heather at CivilizationI had tagged a couple Cleveland Plain Dealer articles of late about the top donut shops in Northeast Ohio and also some little known bars and coffee shops. I finally had time to update my spreadsheet and was reminded there were a few places I really wanted to try before the snow sets in.

We decided to make a quick outing to check out a little coffee shop in Tremont called Civilization, which is housed in the remains of a 19th century drugstore, followed by a stop at Jack Frost Donuts in Parma, which was ranked number one by journalists, police officers and the people of Northeast Ohio.

We started at Civilization, which was packed with customers in a cozy way. The outside of the building is neat with the old ‘Drugs and Medicine’ sign on the building, but the inside was more coffee shop than old drugstore.

There are some amazing built-ins and old drawers from the drugstore days, along with a stamped ceiling. If they filled the empty shelves around the room with old apothecary items they could really have something.

Brian at CivilizationInstead, they seemed to have an eclectic mix of coffee items, things for sale and Cleveland merch, like the notorious Christmas Story leg lamp. I think embracing the drugstore history would really set them apart and make them a destination for those beyond Tremont–but maybe they aren’t interested in attracting those outside Tremont.

My husband opted for a hot tea and I tried a White Light– espresso with steamed white chocolate on top. We enjoyed both drinks and our little booth, and there were a steady stream of regulars throughout our stay. If we hadn’t been heading on to the donut shop, I probably would have been tempted by the awesome ‘Hippie Cookies’ in their pastry stand. They were giant with colorful, swirled icing on top.

We headed over to Parma to find Jack Frost donuts, reliving some of our memories from our brief time living in that area. We also looked up the store hours for State Meats, one of our favorite Ukranian Village stops for smokies and homemade potato salad. Alas, they were not open so we stuck with our simple donuts and coffee theme.


The store wasn’t much to look at and we had to drive around a couple of times to correctly pull in because of the odd road set-up. There were a couple other customers there and a few others came in as we were ordering and leaving–fairly steady stream for the early afternoon, in my opinion!

The girl behind the counter was very nice and answered our questions about all the unlabeled but delicious looking options.

We ended up with a half-dozen:

  • Glazed twist (they are known for their simple glazed)
  • Pineapple iced
  • Blueberry iced
  • Maple with salted whipped cream
  • Chocolate with chocolate cream
  • Apple cinnamon cake

The maple was my favorite (I LOVE maple anything), but the fruit ones were also very good. My husband is not a fan of cake donuts so these were mostly yeast and just the right amount of chewy. I was not surprised at their top rating for the area. I am not a huge donut fan, but I would go back for the occasional special treat or to satisfy my husband’s sweet tooth!

I’m excited to work through a few more spots on our list, but this coffee and donut run was a perfect local adventure and short foray back into the world after break.

Any local coffee or donut shops you love? I’ll add them to my list!

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