Wheeling is growing to be one of my favorite towns in West Virginia. I continually say that I didn't get a chance to explore it much when I lived in the Northern Panhandle, so whenever I do get the chance, I like to come see what all it has to offer.
Recently, I stopped through Wheeling for a cup of coffee on my way to Wellsburg. I had already been to Wheeling Coffee Shoppe, which seems to be the premier coffee shop in town (and it was good!), so I wanted to try a new one. When searching, Wheeling Coffee & Spice Co. came up.
More than 100 years have passed, but many of the traditions are still alive at Wheeling Coffee & Spice Co. The wholesale and retail company remains in the original buildings, graced with four iron columns marked "Sweeneys Co. 1858 Wheeling, Va.," predating the state itself. The Burns coffee roasters manufactured by the Blaw-Knox Company in 1884 are still operational and are used for single batch roasting most of our gourmet coffees.
The beans are slow roasted, hand-raked and air-cooled producing a unique distinctive taste. Paramount Coffee may be purchased in one-pound paper bags designed and copyrighted in 1931, and more important, we still deliver the excellent cup of coffee which Wheeling Coffee has offered to the public for more than a century.
Paramount Coffee's Gourmet House Blend is a rich blend of choice Central and South American coffee beans roasted to perfection. Wheeling Coffee offers many delicious gourmet and flavored coffees as well as gift baskets and gift boxes for every need. When in the Wheeling area, please drop by and allow our staff to show you some of the interesting aspects of our company's history while you enjoy a cup of our great tasting coffees.So, I walked up to the front, passing a few other patrons sitting at the tables and looked around. There was no one behind the counter. I figured they were in the back. Nope. After about 30 seconds, one of the women who was sitting at one of the tables talking to her friend got up and got behind the counter. She literally watched me walk past her, stand at the counter awkwardly while she continued to talk to her friend for a solid 30 seconds before she got up to address me.
Then, when I asked a few questions about the menu - like "What is a 'Milky Way'?" She seemed annoyed. I settled on a simple mocha. But, as she was making it, she stopped to address a person who came in after me to pick up a package. Then, she stopped again to talk to that same woman. This woman stood up and stood right beside me, and the two carried on a conversation while I stood there awkwardly just waiting for my single coffee. Finally, she handed it to me, I got a white chocolate chip macadamia nut biscotti and paid. I said thank you. The woman ignored me and kept talking to her friend.
Well, I was actually a little shocked at how poor this customer service was. Not only was my wait held up way longer than it should have been because she initially ignored me and then was tending to other people who came in after me ... but then even when I tried to say thank you for my coffee, she simply ignored me. The service here is some of the worst I've had in recent memory.
The good thing is that I enjoyed my coffee. I think it was tasty; definitely had my taste of the espresso, but the remainder - essentially hot chocolate - was smooth and had the distinctive milk froth. The biscotti, from Pittsburgh, is always tasty.
If you go in expecting a not-so-warm welcome and knowing that you may feel as though you're interrupting a private conversation, you may be better prepared than what I was. That may be the price you pay for a decent cup of coffee in downtown Wheeling. Until I find a better one.