By Katie Walker
Arts & Features Staff
Smiling baristas greet each customer as they walk through the glass doors of Edna’s. Pastries sit in a glass case on full display for customers as they enter. Displays filled with shirts, magnets and different teas stand to the left of the register.
The first time Sarah Chao, sophomore literature student at UNC Asheville, saw Edna’s it automatically grabbed her attention. She fell in love with the theme and feel of the cafe.
“As I went inside, I knew I wanted to stay. The smells, the people — all walks of life, and the space. I loved the homey, relaxed vibe Edna’s creates because that was exactly what I needed,” Chao said.
The walls are painted a cool brown, complementing the dark chestnut flooring. In the back of the seating area stands a fireplace with red and gold loveseats on either side and pumpkins on the mantle. Plants decorate the floor and framed pictures hang on the walls. Sunlight dances through the large windows adding to the light coming from the dim overhead lighting.
“It is a laid back atmosphere,” said Katie McMullen, a barista at Edna’s. “We have regulars who come in every day.”
Customers sit at the warm brown tables focusing on work or talking quietly to the person sitting across from them. The sound of baristas brewing and cooking the next order are heard faintly on the other side of the cafe.
Lou Samenfink, a regular at Edna’s, sat at a table for two working on a crossword puzzle as music played lightly from the cafe speakers. Because he lives close to Edna’s, Samenfink frequently visits the cozy shop.
“The coffee here is really good. The service and the atmosphere is nice as well,” Samenfink said.
The brown and red color scheme creates a warm and cozy feeling, even on a rainy day.
Edna’s sits on Merrimon Avenue, distinguishable by their large sign sporting a pug. Named and designed after the owner’s dog, Edna’s also raises awareness for animal shelters around the area.
The owner, Mike Zukoski, helps with an animal hospice that gives dogs who are too old or sick to be adopted a place to live.
Chao said the location of Edna’s also attracted her to the cafe.
“The location is great for college students, not too far from campus, but not in the crazy downtown. There’s a parking lot, which is great, because as a college student, I need all the free things I can get,” Chao said.
Edna’s offers a wide variety of drinks and food made in-house or bought locally, according to McMullen. The menu shows a few of the local businesses used including Annie’s Bakery, Simple Kneads and Bad Puppy.
“The drink quality is superb, I always enjoy drinking coffee or tea there. I haven’t really ventured out into the food menu, but the pastries are fresh and delicious,” Chao said. “I think most of the drinks and food are well-priced, but some of it is overpriced. I’d say the hot chocolate and sodas are on the pricey side. I could probably get a cheaper fountain drink at a fast food restaurant.”
A steady flow of customers continues to come through the large glass doors. The staff works together to keep up the pace and ensure everyone knows what they are doing and has what they need to do their job.
“We take care of each other. If something is wrong, it is a team problem,” McMullen said. “The owner takes care of the employees and treats us like humans. He comes in every day to check on the store.”
Bri Reiter, another barista, said even when customers at Edna’s are met with a long line they still support the staff and remain respectful.
“All the people who work here are awesome and the customers are supportive if we are really busy,” Reiter said.
With music playing in the background and tables with plenty of space between them, Edna’s provides students with a good place to study and have meetings. Chao said the cafe is not too quiet and not too loud, providing the perfect environment she needs to get work done.
“If I had to describe Edna’s, it is a coffee shop that acts like a home, supplying delicious treats and beverages in a fun, quirky environment that invites conversation,” Chao said. “It has an environment that brings the community together and makes working an easier task.”
Edna’s offers students a discount of 10 percent with every purchase when they show their student ID.