Coffee and café culture at its finest in Belgrade
By Jimmy Lewis Explorebigsky.com Contributor
Less than a block off of Main Street on N. Broadway in Belgrade is an inviting and intimate little café serving coffee so good it inspires poetry.
It’s “The Spotted Horse Cafe,” and its young owners, Greg Deslauriers and Kyle Quantrille, are continuing the tradition of running a coffee house that is a living, breathing work of art in which customers can find soul warming hospitality, delicious food, and, most importantly—very good coffee.
Deslauriers and Quantrille recently purchased the Spotted Horse and are continuing to preserve the qualities that set the café apart in the past, while bringing their own charisma and ideas into its evolution. The philosophy of the café has always been to serve the customer best—not by simply giving the customer what he wants, but, rather, by giving the customer what he needs, even if that means doing some teaching along the way.
“It’s not Burger King,” Deslauriers says, “You can’t have it your way.”
They will, in fact, serve you what you desire; they just may do their best to persuade you to try something else, like a pure version of a particular coffee drink, a latte or cappuccino done right, for example, or The Spotted Horse Café’s signature drink, the “Café Havana,” which has secret ingredients. (BTW: You have to have a Café Havana.)
The Spotted Horse also specializes in lunch and serves an array of breakfast items and in-house baked goodies. If you swing by at midday, make sure to try the highly sought after tomato soup.
Something unusual you’ll note and maybe, like a lot of the Horse’s customers, come to appreciate over time, is the fact that Deslauriers and Quantrille—by choice—have decided not to provide Wifi.
“We don’t really want people coming in here and sitting on their computers forever. We’d rather see a social atmosphere that encourages face-to-face interaction, a therapeutic escape from the technological world,” Deslauriers says. “I’ve been to little cafés in New York, Mexico and Costa Rica that possess an intimate, jazzy kind of feel. That’s what I’m looking for in The Spotted Horse.”
Deslauriers enjoys seeing and talking with his customers, many of whom he describes as “real characters.” But perhaps, he says, the café’s lively social atmosphere has a liberating effect on customers. “The character comes out in people when they come in the café.”
So what’s next? “We might try doing dinners sometime, or even a patio out back with some dancing. We’re open-minded and into trying things,” Quantrille says. “It’s not a corporate plan we’re running here.”
The best café’s and restaurants are living works of art: They only exist while their proprietors’ lives and inspiration hold out. Deslauriers and Quantrille are young, healthy guys; as for inspiration, make it symbiotic by paying them a visit sometime.
“Long live The Spotted Horse,” Quantrille says.