First Look at The Nook Cafe, UH's New Coffee Shop

Every college campus needs its own special coffee shop -- something other than Starbucks, at least. For me, it was Common Grounds at Baylor University. Just on the outskirts of the campus you could find a crowd of students sipping on the signature Cowboy Coffee made with the Daily Joe, half-and-half and a sweet "secret sauce," or a White Fang, hot powdered chai with caramel and vanilla. While the wide variety of coffee drinks at Common Grounds were a major draw for college students, the relaxing, hipster scene kept them there for hours upon hours.

There's something about a cool coffee shop that attracts college students, and University of Houston has opened its very own on-campus coffee shop, The Nook Café, created by Sam Wijnberg and UH alumnus Derek Shaw.

The second I walked into the café, I was hit with déjà vu. While I knew I wasn't in Waco anymore, I couldn't help but feel as though I was in a rendition of Common Grounds, except the space was much bigger and the shop featured local Houston favorites, such as Hummingbird and Carrot cake slices from Take the Cake, vegan favorites from Sinfull Bakery and classic French pastries from French Riviera Bakery and Cafe.

UH's newest establishment feels as though Urban Outfitters created its own coffee shop; baristas serve up a multitude of iced and hot coffee drinks, lemonade beverages and teas while "Sweet Disposition" and tunes from Motion City Soundtrack play over the speakers. Corkboards line the walls with painted listings of menu items, and chalkboards take the place of ordinary wallpaper or paint, inviting students to write messages telling others to attend organization meetings and "Rush XYZ fraternity or sorority."

Students sit with their laptops at bars along the walls, or in the sectioned-off room complete with soft, comfortable chairs, fully intending to stay for a few hours and crank out homework or finish that seven-page report due the next day. While The Nook Café might be a bit "too hipster" for those out of college, it's definitely an enjoyable, relaxing abode in which to read a book, chat quietly with friends or enjoy a Sunday afternoon with a cup of coffee and a muffin.

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn