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Columbus Coffee Chronicles (Vol. 5): Fox In The Snow

One aspect of a recent Men's Journal article touting Columbus' Fox in the Snow Cafe as one of the nation's "Best Coffee Shops to Unplug" struck a funny geographical chord for me.  According to the article, one regularly can "Picture metal smiths and glass blowers from the nearby Columbus Ideas Foundry mingling with fashion designers from Victoria's Secret (who has its headquarters just miles away)" in this Italian Village gathering place.

While the just over two-and-a-half miles from the Foundry to the cafe may be somewhat nearby, the 20 miles from this cafe to Victoria's Secret Headquarters (located in Reynoldsburg) make it just as likely you'll find this trifecta of groups at any of Columbus' more stylish coffee establishments (Cafe Brioso, One Line Coffee and so forth) as much as Fox in the Snow.

However, the main point of the article cannot be denied: there's no reason to be plugged in when hanging out at Fox in the Snow.

One thing that distinguishes this coffee shop, started by couple Lauren Culley and Jeff Excell (both formerly of San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee) and opened to the public in November of 2014, from others I've reviewed during this series is it is equally food- and coffee-oriented. Another slightly different aspect, as hinted at by the Men's Journal article, is the fact that they are not geared toward the folks who like to plunk their butts down at a coffee shop for the free wi-fi access. It's not like you can't tap on a computer or surf on your mobile device there, but don't expect Fox in the Snow to help you with that.

Instead, old-school interactivity is truly encouraged, and is definitely not a bad thing at all. During the busier periods (fairly common occurrences these days), it just gives you more time to bombarded your senses by the arrays of delectable pastries and other novel sweet treats (such as a delicious handmade toaster pastry) right before the register. And while there may be fewer coffee-related items to choose than other establishments, you will do just fine with the pour over coffee (Fox in the Snow uses the beans of Maine's Tandem Roasters.)  This will allow you to sit back and watch the barista perform his java artistry.

The spacious, industrial-styled interior gives plenty more opportunities for old-school interaction. Couples, groups and even solo-visitors can find seating fit their various communication needs; a patio area opened in Fall of 2015 provides more opportunity for outdoor casual conversation during warmer-weather months. On my solo visits, I've enjoyed the simple art of people watching while contemplating my day ahead, whether it's the other diners who've joined me that day, the barista staff behind the counter, or the bakers behind the glass windowed kitchen fashioning delectable morsels for the masses.

A cafe can't be named after a Belle and Sebastian song without having some music component present, and here Fox in the Snow obliges with an in-house turntable, a crate of vinyl records, and stereo system. Whether its the Felice Brothers or Blackbird Blackbird or the previously mentioned Glaswegian group, the music I've heard on my visits fits the space quite well, making a visit just that much more pleasant.

Finally, you can't do a story on Fox in the Snow Cafe and not mention their fox logo, which might be neck and neck with Hot Chicken Takeover's chicken for most beloved animal-themed culinary mascot. If nothing else, the logo, which is painted in an advantageously-located spot on the cafe's exterior wall facing 4th Street, is perhaps the cafe's ultimate example of old-fashioned interactivity, as numerous people have expressed their creativity in various social media-posted pictures with this playfully-painted logo.

I choose to be different here: I may not be the first, but I figure our foxy friend wouldn't mind a little vulpine interaction every once in awhile, so here's one more for the foxy adoration folder.

Fox in the Snow Cafe
1031 N 4th St. (Italian Village - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43201
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