If you’re like me, you have a rolodex in your brain (do new generations know the idea of a rolodex?) of the places you spend time. I know, for instance, that the public library is closed Sunday and Monday, meaning that my go-to spot for working on writing has to wait until later in the week. Well, one place that is smack dab in my path many days is also open most of the hours I could imagine myself out and about, especially in Weaverville. That’s Yellow Mug Coffee Lounge.
Yellow Mug is a bright storefront-style coffee lounge with a calm atmosphere, easy-listening music playing, and minimalist art. They have bright geometric mural details since their last renovation/update of the space, as well as a fairly new design that keeps the space roomy-feeling while fitting a few more tables in total.
A whole section of wall is covered with community bulletin board flyers advertising music festivals and local service providers, making it feel like a third space for community connection. The restroom is tucked away in an alcove that has some charming walls covered in old burlap coffee bean bags. A huge fan keeps the space cool on hot days.
Everything feels home-like, from the tables that look upcycled, painted dark to match chairs and barstools, to the cutesy signs throughout the space with sentiments like, “dinosaurs never had coffee and we all know how that turned out.” At least recently, there’s been a beautiful chalk-paint sign outside about how Yellow Mug welcomes all people to eat there, and I think that comes through in the design of the space, too.
Just around the corner in the same building is a covered patio with more seating if the indoors is full or the weather is nice – you get a lot of the noise of traffic on Main Street through Weaverville if you’re there in the afternoon, but it can be very tranquil in the mornings.
Yellow Mug has perfected a restaurant concept that I like a lot: it has all the trappings of a coffee shop but with a full restaurant menu to keep you well-fed. Its coffee shop side, if you will, involves excellent espresso drinks, great brewed coffee, a case stuffed with tasty pastries, including the mound-of-delight Morsel Cookies, and hours that start blisteringly early at 6 or 7 am.
It’s a place where I almost always see at least one laptop open and the Wi-Fi is prominently posted for use, but also people catching up over cups of tea, so most of the standard coffee shop uses are on the table, so to speak.
On the restaurant side, though, they boast a substantial hot breakfast menu, a simple but excellent salads menu, a soup of the day, and tasty sandwiches. While they don’t have a dedicated dinner menu, you can order food till they close at 6 pm, which makes it a good “I didn’t remember lunch and dinner isn’t happening for a while yet” spot.
The idea of a hybrid coffee shop and restaurant is, of course, not new – cafés are basically what I’m describing, with the trim but varied food menu allowing people to feel comfortable drinking their Dirty Pumpkin Chai or Honey Lavender frozen coffee drink alongside either a simple croissant or a big breakfast burrito full of eggs, avocado, cheddar, onion, tomatoes, and a side salad.
The first dish I tried at Yellow Mug was on a mini-date – when Grandma hangs out with my son, and my husband and I run out for a quick bite, just us. We tried Yellow Mug only a little while after it opened, and when I ordered Avocado Toast (so millennial of me), I expected something low frills – bread, avocado, and maybe a little sprinkle of salt.
Instead, they’d used a perfectly ripe avocado, a delicate seasoning mix, and put some yummy greens with a great vinaigrette on the side – simple adds that elevated that meal wonderfully. And given that avocados are at perfect ripeness for about two hours between underripe and overripe, I was very impressed with their avocado-picking abilities.
Since then, I’ve loved various items on the menu. Some days, all I want is sugar, and a Morsel Cookie (well, usually half of one, but the other half sustains me the next day!) is the next option. You’ll know these cookies because they are the size and shape of a scoop of ice cream and come in ice cream-like flavors. In the middle of the cookie is a well of filling or frosting, making them an incredible and decadent treat.
Some days, though, I’m literally not in the mood for the density of sweetness that a Morsel Cookie can serve, and those are the days I turn to the smoothie menu. The Pineapple Kale smoothie is the perfect mix of fruit-forward and not-too-sweet, serving me more nutrients than my standard cup of black coffee but not filling me up too much as I write a little bit before meeting up with family for dinner. It’s a balance that is easier to strike at Yellow Mug than at most places.
If you needed another reason to see this place as a real all-things-for-all-people spot, they even have a limited variety of beer and wine. Closing at 6 pm, it’s probably not the go-to, but if your late-afternoon meal is simply incomplete without a lager or an ale, Yellow Mug won’t leave you high and dry.
Lots of things about the ambiance are fun and irreverent, showing the place doesn’t take itself too seriously. I like how the salads and the sandwiches are named like episodes of Friends, with monikers like “The One with Squash & Quinoa” or “The One with Chikky Salad.”
It also works for making ordering easy: my go-to is to ask, “Can I have The One with Brie?” and everyone knows I mean the toasted challah bread sandwich with sliced turkey, brie cheese, pear chips, apple butter, and a side. It’s a sweet-and-savory combo that gets all melty and perfect, and I’d recommend it for pretty much anyone’s tastes.
With pleasant counter service, simple digs, and a menu that covers enough palates to make it a go-to for even a diverse group of food preferences, Yellow Mug stands out for openness and welcomeness. Maybe I’ll see you there sometime – I’ll be the one with the avocado toast, cookie, or smoothie, depending on the day.
Yellow Mug Coffee Lounge: 113 N Main St, Weaverville.
Have you been to Yellow Mug Coffee Lounge in Weaverville? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!
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