Fuel Coffee Bar brings new smiles and caffeine to Little Italy

Zsolt Bognar, Contributing Reporter

The student community and Little Italy have a trendy new hotspot to celebrate in Fuel Coffee Bar. It’s located in the setting of a converted vintage gas station on Mayfield Road and 123rd St. In an atmosphere that combines historic Cleveland with upscale contemporary design, Fuel is the ideal community gathering point, study place and a space to recharge throughout the day. Open since June 7, the coffee bar is quickly gaining the reputation as having the best coffee in town. Owner David St. Phillips proudly explained, “We wanted to create an inviting place with both a retro vibe and a modern appeal—paying homage to Cleveland’s history and attracting members of the local community and the Case Western Reserve University student body alike.”

Featuring a wide variety of coffee and espresso products and top-of-the-line Italian hardware DeLonghi, Fuel also features food offerings ranging from soups and chili, to cookies and pastries—including the very popular line of designer cupcakes from Luna Bakery at Cedar/Fairmount.
The hours and services are ideally suited to students, with free outlets and wifi, along with expanded opening hours during midterm and finals periods. Jillian Johnston, a graduate student of speech/language pathology at CWRU, said of the product: “I’m not even really a coffee drinker, but I come here anyway for the great taste of the coffee and for the atmosphere.”

Students presenting a valid ID during Student Happy Hour (daily between 3-5 and 7-9) enjoy a $1 discount on coffee.

With extensive branding derived from its past as a gas station from the 1940s through the 1970s, the walls feature classic Americana and photos from earlier days in Little Italy. Sleek stainless steel and brushed aluminum inside with machinery contrast with the warmth of wooden tables, and the study bar’s countertops (which include outlets on both sides) provide plenty of space for work as well. Adding to the local appeal of the spot is the local artwork and photography by featured local artists, with musical offerings by local bands and singers on Friday nights, as well as poetry readings.

A great convenience of this new location is the free parking for customers—otherwise almost impossible for the heart of Little Italy. Hours are depend on time of year, but are typically 7 a.m. to a “soft” 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. on weekends.
Ideally located midway between the north and south sides of campus, Fuel Coffee bar is a pit stop along Mayfield Road in Little Italy and a perfect new addition to the community, with a trendy and inviting atmosphere with contrasts that sets itself apart from ample corporate coffee chain offerings in the area.