2013-06-12 / News

Cottage Cafe, a dessert destination

by Jazz Clark


Susan House (left) and Mark House enjoy the coolness behind their ice cream counter at Cottage Café, a new dessert shop opened in Berkeley Springs on June 1. Susan House (left) and Mark House enjoy the coolness behind their ice cream counter at Cottage Café, a new dessert shop opened in Berkeley Springs on June 1. In plain view along Martinsburg Road in Berkeley Springs, a newly restored shop houses Cottage Cafe, featuring coffee, ice cream and baked goods.

The June 1 grand opening proved successful, with almost 200 customers coming by to enjoy coffee and ice cream in equal supply, according to owners Susan and Mark House.

The House pair hope to grab the attention of commuters, as well as kids playing sports at nearby Biser Street and tourists who walk out from town.

“I compare our shop to small but busy dessert places like Nutter’s in Sharpsburg, Md.,” said Mark House. “People line up out the door for the environment and atmosphere.”

In the 1920’s, a gas station occupied the storefront, which has changed many times over the years. In 2005, Susan House bought the house and opened a podiatry center.

Now, the cottage-like building serves desserts and other treats with all-new décor and appliances. The entire first and second floor were gutted, and new paint, trim, and fixtures serve to make the older building feel modern.

The cafe serves all the traditional Hershey’s ice cream flavors, including low-fat and sugar-free varieties. Baked goods such as pies, muffins, and donuts are all made inhouse.

Breakfast sandwiches will join the menu in the near future, said House.

Customers can sit outside at a bench in the outdoor garden area. or inside at stools with power outlets and wireless internet.

Mark House is very passionate about the coffee side in particular.

House and his four new hires have been using the high end La Marzocco coffee machine nonstop to create specialty coffees in all flavors.

Employing coffee brewing techniques such as French press and Chemex, House wants to show people that coffee is an art.

The beans come from professional roast-master R.C. Gartrell of Winchester, Va. Gartrell started in famed coffee destination Portland, Ore., and will check every week to ensure his beans are being used to their full potential.

By next year, House hopes to get a 5-pound coffee bean roaster to put in the basement and make his own blends.

Cottage Cafe is open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until 9 p.m. on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The shop can be reached at 304-258-4002.

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