Grand Rapids West Siders are a devoted bunch, with a desire to see their neighborhood grow but also to remain true to its hardscrabble roots.
Max Friar is the epitome of that West Side character. Having grown up on the West Side on Powers Street NW and attending St. James Elementary School, Friar remembers riding his bike and playing outside in the neighborhood.
Friar also grew to love coffee. So when he decided to open a coffee shop with Melissa Somero, there was no question in his mind where that coffee shop would be located.
Friar and Somero opened Corridor Coffee, at 637 Stocking Avenue NW, on Jan. 22.
The coffee shop serves up a variety of espresso drinks as well as drip and pour-over coffees and a selection of teas.
All of its coffees are made using the Intelligentsia brand, which Friar said was selected as the shop’s supplier because the company sources its coffees “directly from farmers in multiple countries, paying them above fair trade prices to ensure responsible stewardship and build communities and stable partnerships over time.”
“The quality is extremely high and no one locally carries Intelligentsia despite it being a widely-known name across the United States,” Friar said.
For the non-coffee lover, there’s hot chocolate, floats and shakes available. You can also choose from an assortment of bottle drinks like ginger beer or espresso root beer or try a shrub, a popular colonial era drink made from mixing Fustini’s vinegar syrup with ice and Acquapanna carbonated water.
If you are feeling peckish, Corridor Coffee offers baked goods from Rise Bakery, Sarah Katherine Cakes and Perry Farms Chocolates.
The building that houses Corridor Coffee has a long history, having served as both a residence and storefront since it was built in the late 1800s.
Friar and Somero spent time renovating the space with the goal of creating a “warm and inviting” space for patrons.
“We wanted it to feel inviting and timeless. We did nothing on the ‘cheap,’” Friar said.
Friar said he wants Corridor Coffee to be a welcoming place for everyone.
“Like the Westside, we want Corridor to be known for high quality and a place where people feel comfortable,” he said. “Genuine, honest, open, inviting, real. Bring your grandmother or your grandchildren. Everyone is welcome and everyone will be treated kindly.”
*Photos courtesy of Corridor Coffee