While looking over my shrinking list of “Quintessential College Eateries,” (as my blog mates were picking some of the great Morgantown dives) it suddenly dawned on me that no one mentioned the coffee shop scene. Of course! One of my first introductions to college life was when I was in high school and eating with my dad at a college coffee shop in Bowling Green, Kentucky (pops used to work at Western Kentucky University or WKU…eerily similar to WVU). So it is only fitting that I cover the best coffee hangout in Morgantown, the Blue Moose Cafe.
To be sure, labeling the Blue Moose as strictly a “coffee hangout” does the joint a huge disservice. The Blue Moose really embodies what makes up a great college restaurant, cafe, or eatery. For one, it has a very open yet cozy atmosphere in which many students, professors, and locals spend countless hours pouring over work or catching up with friends. The Blue Moose also features a plethora of locally produced artwork (that is for sale) and is home to a vibrant acoustic music scene (usually Wednesday is the open-mic night). Of course the service at the cafe is exceptional, as the servers make a habit of using pleasantries and light conversation to ease you on your visit. But what really makes the Blue Moose a great coffee shop and cafe is the shear amount of “wake my ass up” drinks available and the eclectic assortment of homemade foods.
Of the dozens of drinks I have tried from the Blue Moose, I can honestly say I have never had a bad experience. From the Chai-inspired Lattes and “The Americano” with various shots of flavors (like French Vanilla, Pumpkin, or Caramel) to something much more “low-brow” like a steamer or milkshake, everything has a unique taste. My personal favorite is the “Honey Milk,” comprised of steam milked, brewed to a frothy goodness with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of honey mixed in. The flavor of the Honey Milk is just so simple and soothing, not nearly as complex as their breakfast, lunch, and dinner items.
Just as explicitly titling the Blue Moose as a “coffee shop” is a disservice, so is trying to review their extensive menu. For starters, you can always order breakfast from the Blue Moose…and their portions rival that of Tudor’s, so beware when you order! As for lunch and dinner, the cafe offers a lot of different sandwiches and salads for the adventurous mouth. Their Reuben Sandwich is delicious, as is their Black Bean Burger and the Spinach and Red Pepper Sandwich, which consists of fresh spinach and roasted red pepper under a bed of melted Provolone cheese and served up on toasted Ciabatta bread. A friend of mine ordered the “Mediterranean Moose Salad,” and at first glance it looked amazing. In fact, when I uploaded these photos to my Facebook (it’s just easier when you are photographing from a SmartPhone), I had comments about the wonderous appearance of the salad in minutes!
Although I could probably go on for another 1, 000 words about the Blue Moose’s food and atmosphere, this is a place you really have to experience yourself. It has all the makings of a great college dive, a cool name, a relaxed and off-beat setting, smiling and talkative servers, and a head-turning group of drinks and menu items. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when a senior at WVU recently told me she had never been to the Blue Moose before…I was blue in the face (no pun intended). So give this local dive a shot, and you might end up with a cup of coffee and a shot of your own…of espresso that is.